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In 2014 we’ll use our friends to find work.

I admit, that doesn’t sound very new. In fact it’s actually a century’s old tradition – many jobs used to be passed down through the generations or found through local contacts.

In recent years we’ve taken that online - retweeting job adverts to our networks or connecting to others via LinkedIn.

But in 2014 the online job search is getting a social action makeover. 

Let me introduce you to Eshan. Last year he posted on the State of Ambition website about his hopes of becoming a broadcaster. No-one he knows works in television or the media. But within a day he’d been put in touch with Jon Snow for a bit of advice. That’s social action in action.

The website he used, State of Ambition, helps young people to identify their career ambition, and connect with those that can help them achieve it. A young person’s post stays up for 21 days and in that time they connect with friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends.

And there’s plenty more sites using social action to help people find work, such as:

  • Backr - a social network to find work. It was designed knowing 80% of jobs aren’t advertised and so it gives members the inside track by connecting them with people who can help them think through goals and develop skills, peers doing the sort of job that they want, and organisations with interesting paid or voluntary opportunities on offer.
  • Discoverables - a website that helps young people show off their skills and potential to employers, not just their CV. The website sets missions to help young people prove and improve their skills (like writing a blog about a time when you showed grit and resilience or a real world mission – helping innocent smoothies improve their advertising etc). By completing the missions young people create an online profile that truly reflects their skills, rather than just listing the same old tired phrases on a CV.
  • Networking for Work – a service that trains jobseekers in how to use social media to find work (as well as how to appear professional online) and matches them up with peers who can support them along the way.

Maybe we’ll even see this supercharged social action movement go one further and job centres will not just be a place where you a see paid advisor, but somewhere to connect with local people with similar experience who’ve donated their time to help others back into work - people powered job centres if you will.

So my prediction is that 2014 is the year of friends helping friends to find work online.

Using the skills, networks and generosity of friends to find work isn’t new. But this new wave of online support isn’t jobs for the boys and it’s not being forced to come to a ‘networking’ drinks event. It’s a whole new social action movement to help us all find meaningful work.

* Photo courtesy of Jenna Percella