Networking has been the number-one way to find jobs – and good ones – for years. In fact, for the past 20-some years I’ve been in the careers industry as a career counselor/coach and outplacement specialist, it has been the first strategy I’ve recommended to my job-search clients. With the advent of Web 2.0 and social networking, this strategy now makes it possible to connect with vast networks of professionals and peers for information interviewing, job leads, company information, and more.
But this globalization of networking has also led to dilemmas like what social networks to choose, the netiquette of social networking, and how to optimize networking time and tools. The following list should help:
1. "The 15 Top Social Networking Sites" as compiled by Selfgrowth.com contains what it describes as the 15 most important websites primarily for people running self-improvement, business or health-related sites…I would expand that statement to include job seekers and career changers, career professionals seeking promotion and career development, recruiters, and HR folks too. The bonus here is that even more sites are listed beyond the top 15; check them out as they may be just the “niche” where you want to stand out with your personal brand.
2. "LinkedIn Tricks for Networkers, Job Hunters and Hirers" by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen of Time Magazine offers tips anyone on LinkedIn can use for research, connecting with those in the network, getting answers to specific questions, people and company background info, and raising your search-engine ranking if you have a website (such as a website portfolio) or personal blog.
Lisa’s blog contains links to more postings:
"Ten Ways Journalists Can Use LinkedIn" by Penelope Trunk – again all of the tips could easily apply to job seekers, hirers, and anyone interested in developing and managing their career.
"Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn" by Guy Kawasaki – which contains some fascinating statistics like “people with more than twenty (LinkedIn) connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five”.
For job-seekers, I’d also like to add "Join a Social Network Before You Need a Job" (again by Penelope Trunk), which reveals how gung-ho recruiters are about social networking candidates.
3. "I’m on LinkedIn – Now What?" book preview by author Jason Alba which shares his rationale, chapter content and structure, and timeline for the upcoming book. Judging from the thoroughness of the book’s content and knowing Jason’s penchant for meticulous detail and strategic thinking – this should be a bestseller!
All in all, the tools are out there to make social networking work for you. Don’t let the number-one way to find jobs go unused in your toolbox of job-search tactics. BTW, remember face-to-face networking as well, with everyone you meet…you just don’t know who others may know and what referrals they might have for you. Have you got your personal branding 30-second statement (elevator pitch) ready?