Network your way to your next job by following these rules.
This a guest post by Yvette Francino. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.
Networking has always been the most important strategy in finding a job.
Before we had social networking tools, we dug out our list of contacts and blindly went out trying to find people that might be able to help us with our job search. There are “leads meetings” where people exchange business cards and give their elevator pitches. These methods are still useful ways to network. However, by using tools such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter we are able to be much more intelligent with how we network.
Social media tools allow us an easy way for keeping in touch and expanding our networks, finding mutually beneficial relationships. These tools, particularly LinkedIn, are absolutely essential in the modern day job search.
There are also many tips and tricks that are particularly geared towards helping job seekers.
The best time to network is before you need anything.
Networks can help with a lot more than a job search. A community of people can help each other in many ways. Building up a strong network when you are happily employed can help you progress in your career and build lifelong professional friendships. Don't wait until you've been laid off to connect with your colleagues in LinkedIn and Facebook.
However, if you're new to the social networking scene and are in need of a job, it's not too late. Go ahead and get start building your networks using social networking tools and by getting involved in communities of interest. Invite all the friends from your email address book (not just those that you think will help you with your job search) to join your networks.
Participate in your networks, looking for ways to help others.
Join networks aimed at job search and pass along tips and tricks. Help your contacts find leads to companies they're interested in by searching your own network. Pass along what you learn from others. By helping other people you are also helping yourself become established in the community as a resource.
But don't limit your help and support only to job seekers.
Look for opportunities to help people in your area of expertise. Connecting with friends on Facebook or Twitter allows an easy way for you to stay up-to-date on what's going on in your friends' lives. Simply giving them a quick message of friendship can spread a feeling of happiness.
I've heard advice from several people that when you're networking you shouldn't tell people directly that you're looking for a job. You befriend them, find out more about them, help them with something, and then in the course of the conversation they will find out your in the job market. I understand that this should be the philosophy in sales.
Build the relationship first before you start selling.
However if you're meeting someone specifically because of a job search, I think it's important to be upfront. Let people know that you are looking for a job, but don't “sell” yourself. Enjoy the friendship and support you receive and give it willingly and genuinely to others. And don't limit yourself simply to email or social networking tools. Meet new people often – not with the sole purpose of finding a job, but with the purpose of meeting new friends and getting to know people with shared interests.
One of the hardest things I ever had to do was fundraising for Leukemia and Lymphoma.
I had committed to raising $4000 which meant I had to ask a lot of people for money. I hated putting them on the spot until one man – someone I barely knew whose son was in remission– donated $500. The next time I was raising money, I asked him again, but told him I didn't want him to think I was taking advantage of his generosity. He gave me another $500 and said, “I would be hurt if you DIDN'T ask me. Be proud of what you're doing.”
Though not everyone has this generous attititude about giving, I realized that when we are asking people for help, our attitude makes a world of difference.
When we ask someone to meet so we can talk to them about a job opportunity, we shouldn't be apologetic or feel that we're imposing. Certainly we want to be grateful for the meeting, but we are not only learning from them, but sharing of ourselves. Initiating a new relationship, whether or not it results in a job, is something to feel good about. Don't go about networking as though you're a charity case.
Go in being proud of what you can offer to others.
An attitude of gratefulness is one that helps keeps your community strong.
When someone helps you in your job search, make sure they realize how grateful you are. Social networking tools can help you keep in touch and keep up with your friendships. Of course, for people that have gone out of their way to help you, personal contact is better than an email or Wall message.
Treat your biggest supporters to lunch or surprise them with a gift in thanks for their efforts. And certainly offer to return the favor of help in any way you can.
When someone helps us, we know how good it feels and we naturally want to spread that feeling to others that might need it.
One of the best things about community is the contagious feelings of happiness it can bring to pass on to others the support that we've received. Social networking tools have made it simple by allowing us to easily share advice or information that we find useful. With Twitter, we simply have to “Retweet” to pass along information. With FaceBook and LinkedIn we can easily post links to our status pages of helpful information passing along to our own networks.
If you found this article useful, you can help me by spreading the word through your networks. Additional articles about social networking and the job search can be found on my blog. My contact information and connection information for LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can be found there. Looking forward to having you in my network!
Yvette Francino blogs about social media at geekgal-yvette.blogspot.com.
If you liked this article, you'll also enjoy 37 Ideas to Grow Your Job Search Network Right Now.
This article is part of the 3rd Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest. If you want Yvette Francino to win, share this article with your friends.
Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.