The power of your online social network can come flex its muscle during these tough times. Often the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” is towed out when it comes to job hunting, and even though we don’t “know” many of our online friends, they become very valuable tools to the online job search.
JT O’Donnell is a career strategist and told a story on Mashable last week about recommending someone she had never met for a job interview.
“I sent an email to an HR Director introducing a candidate. Seems normal, right? Well, the catch is that I’ve never met the person I referred, or the HR Director – in person, that is. I met them on LinkedIn,” she explains.
“I decided to check my online networking sources and sent an e-mail introduction request on her behalf. I simply explained the reason for my contact, mentioned the candidate’s name and provided a link to her online resume.”
The tools used in the story are key things you can do to expand your network and find a great job says Social Media Evangelist, Monica Hamburg.
“First of all, Google yourself,” she says. “People forget that when you comment on someone’s blog, or post on a message board it’s searchable.” Maintaining your online brand in a world of online networks is key.
If you’re relying on someone you’ve only met online to make an introduction, your behaviour online is how they will judge you and Google is the ultimate decider.
To expand your network of contacts you can join sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – but be careful what you put out there. From the content of your postings, right down to the type of photos you put in your profile.
“I see that all the time, shirtless dudes or heavily made up and the boob shot,” says Monica. “What are you thinking?”
You may have started on these sites as social places, but when you’re looking for work they become your brand, so be careful what you’re selling.
You can maintain your brand by creating your own blog, a site that can be used as an online resume.
“Put up a page that showcases yourself,” says Monica.
She points to tools like SlideShare or YouTube to create something unique that can be shared across the web easily and spread your network. You could add a line to your email signature with a link to your profile with a request for colleagues and contacts to pass it on.
There are big job search sites too, but Monica doesnt see using those as having much success. “Quite honestly if I was an employer putting an ad on those sites, the amount of crap I’d get – I wouldn’t be able to sit through it.”
Monica says the focus should be on “who you know” and building the relationships before you need them so they’re strong when you do need them.
If a clash of cultures was the reason you lost your job, make sure it doesn’t happen again by finding a place to work that matches your personality. Monica Hamburg calls Jiibe.com an eHarmony-ish website for finding work. “It allows you to find a job based on the work culture that appeals to you,” Monica explains.
If you’re still not sold on the online networking aspect, many real life meetups in the Vancouver tech, marketing and web community happen frequently. The next will have 5 contestants making elevator pitches from a milk crate at Ideas on Tap tomorrow night at 5p at Yaletown Brewing Company.
The inauguration of Barack Obama yesterday was a technological landmark. The crush of people had cellco’s asking users to switch to text instead of voice to push calls. CNN created a site called The Moment that uses Photosynth to stitch professional and amateur photos together to create a 3D model of the day.
|This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on January 21, 2009.|