Conventional business wisdom holds that without a comprehensive online strategy, your business is like a shark that stops swimming: It sinks slowly and lifelessly to the bottom of the sea. Online presence is critical to commercial success.
Interestingly, the same can be said for your job search. If you don’t engage in online networking (e.g., use social networking sites (SNS) to look for work, all prospective employers will be left with is your resume which, like that shark, will sink slowly and lifelessly to the bottom (in this case, the bottom of the stack and, ultimately, the waste basket).
Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart: HR, once put it very simply: “It’s not what you know, and it’s not who you know; it’s who knows what you can do.” Online networking (including use of social media) is the most effective tool for expanding your circle of contacts and, with it, your sphere of influence.
We can’t stress enough how important creating a broad and deep a network is. Too often we see individuals limit themselves by not including certain people because they’re not perceived to be a source of potential job leads. Just remember that you know people who know people who know people. The more people you interact with, the more people will know what you can do. The larger the circle of contacts, the greater the likelihood that people you don’t even know may become interested in what you have to offer, possibly leading to a potential job opportunity from a completely unexpected source.
So, what are some of the easy action steps you can take now to put social media and online networking to work for your job search? Here are a few suggestions:
- Plan the plan. Formulate your online networking strategy. Determine which SNS you’ll be using. What industry/career/profession interests you and which social media modalities are they likely to use? Honestly assess whether you’re comfortable with online networking. If you’re not, you probably shouldn’t set any goals for social media interaction that will be a struggle for you to meet (always minimize opportunities for stress and negativity in your online networking plan.
- Who are you? What we mean is, who are you online? Have you conducted an online search of yourself? You should. Google (or Bing) yourself. Do you currently have an online presence? If so, is it one that you’re okay with or do the search results point to some personal information you’d just as soon prospective employers not see? If so, do something about it! Tighten the privacy settings of your Facebook account, for example.
- Build an online profile. It’s estimated that 89 percent of companies use social media to recruit. Set up a complete LinkedIn profile and get the word out that you have one. Search for people you know as well as people in the industry/profession in which you’d like to work. The more connections you establish, the more effective your online networking will be.
- Communicate. Reply. Retweet. Repeat. Set up a Twitter account and use it. Follow industry accounts and those of your peers/friends/professional contacts. Twitter is highly interactive so interact. Become someone known for being interesting, one who shares information and viewpoints about your area(s) of expertise.
- There’s nothing wrong with writing. If you write well, write often. Blog about things that are related to what you want others to know you know. Your content may actually be more attention-getting than anything on your resume and gives prospective employers insight into what you can contribute.
Remember: Online networking is a numbers game. The more contacts you have, the greater the potential benefit.
Learn how online networking can help your virtual self get the job you want, download infographic on tips for online networking during your job search.