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Monday, July 02, 2012

Networking for job hunt success

networking, professional network, social network, job hunt, career
Who do you know
Networking is often called the most successful technique used in job hunting, above the use of websites to find openings. Networking can mean many things though, from mentioning to a relative stranger that you are looking for a particular type of work through to becoming a well known expert in your field. If you've never use this skill in your job hunt now is the time to learn how, if you have tried it before you can brush up your knowledge a bit. If you are an excellent networker maybe you would like to leave some tips for us in the comments section below.

There is a lot of advice on the web about using social networking sites, and professional networks. If you are seeking work employers may well look for you on receipt of your application so it does well to be in control of what they will find.

One of the biggest and most popular professional networking sites is LinkedIn and, despite some recent bad press, a lot of advice sites still recommend using it to build your personal profile, assess your own expertise and to show off your knowledge and achievements. You might start your LinkedIn journey by uploading a CV. Then build your network by finding people you already know. Don't forget, other people are there to increase their networks too so don't be afraid to approach anyone. Don't discount anyone, for all you know they may have a brother in law looking for someone just like you! Here are more tips about using the site. 

links, networking, professional network, social network, job hunt, career
Link up
The biggest social network site is Facebook, it has over 500million users. It is however, most commonly use for social things, and therefore can include photos and information about nights out that might not tally with your professional image. When you start a job search it makes good sense to go over your Facebook profile and make sure there is nothing incriminating, embarrassing or negative about you, including tags on other people's pictures and comments. Log out and search for yourself to see what comes up. There have been some high profile cases of staff being caught out making inappropriate comments about work and losing their jobs over it. In the USA some companies have demanded access to employees' Facebook accounts in order to check for unsuitable posts. I would venture that if you are asked for this you really need to consider whether the company is a good fit to your aspirations, and whether you can work under such scrutiny. On the positive side though, you can use it to show your extracurricular activities such as volunteering, creative projects and enthusiasm for your field. You could even express your excitement and positive response to job interviews (just be discreet about it - e.g. don't mention the company name, you never know who might be after the same job).

Google+, a fairly recent addition to the social network sphere, is also becoming a useful site to use in your job search. With this you create circles of friends and acquaintances, so you can keep work more separated from friends.

Twitter is also a good place to network. It is used by a lot of specialist recruiters, employment agencies and career advisers (including us - @not9to5). Companies from all areas also have presences on there so you should be able to learn a bit about their culture and news, they may even advertise jobs. Again you can use Twitter to express your creativity, ask questions, demonstrate your knowledge and skills and reach out to people you might not otherwise be able to connect with. Just be sure to know the line between demonstration and flat out self promotion. Remember the need for discretion and to build  a positive personal identity. Use hashtags to find information and to make your news findable.

Employers might not directly advertise on a social network site, but you may find connections to people who can point you towards suitable openings.It is also worth doing some web searches to find out if your field has a dedicated networking site. Another good idea is to produce a business card with your email and your Twitter, LinkedIn or other profile information so you can network in the real world as well.

Here is a free ebook that includes advice for shy people as well as some interesting statistics - for example they claim that 80% of successful job hunts result from networking. It reframes the concept of networking in a way that will help introverts to get out there and find their own networks, as well as to understand what they can offer to an existing network.

But if you're not ready to take the plunge into organised networks online, try using your email instead.
networking, social network, professional network, job hunt, career, future
The Future

Technology moves on apace and the future could take any number of different shapes, make sure you keep your presence up to date, even if you are in full time work, it's worth it, you never know when you or your employer might decide it's time for a change.

As with so much on the web, the majority of advice is aimed at people looking for regular, commonplace jobs. For those looking for something out of the ordinary, you may have to be a bit more creative. A lot of it is also American so make sure you don't just blindly follow advice: consider its appropriateness to your own culture, whether that be the world of banking or a more bohemian, artistic realm.

N.B. As always, we offer this as advice and recommend you do your homework before you take any single piece of information as gospel and certainly before paying for any services. Don't forget, no link is an island, when you get to another site have a click about to see what else is there.

1 comment:

  1. On the very day I posted this, the Evening Standard featured a woman whose Twittering may have landed her a job.


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