We’ve all heard it once before, “it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.”
Building relationships is one of the golden rules we learned in grade school and for good reason. People love connecting with other people. It’s in our nature. The term networking might sound a bit dry and dirty, but it doesn’t have to be. Networking however you spin it is crucial to your career and more importantly, your job search.
The thought of talking to strangers and being in a room full of professionals might seem scary, but with the power of social networking and the use of social media you can build the confidence you need to make the right impressions on the right people. Using social media for your job search will also better prepare you for the interview. It’s also a great way to get connected.
I’m here to encourage you to put yourself out there and connect with the people you want to work with. Here are five action items to add to your to-do-list.
1. Follow and interact with the company you want to work for on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Most companies have a presence on social media these days. Go to their website and find out which social networks they use. Find out who the decision makers are and find their profiles as well. Retweet or favorite their posts on Twitter, participate in discussions and follow their hashtags. Subscribe to the company blog and leave insightful comments on posts that relate to your expertise. Like their page on Facebook, share posts and leave comments as well. The same idea is true for LinkedIn. The key is to engage and let them know you are interested.
2. Get to know their culture. Every company has a culture. Where do you fit in? Review the company’s value statements and brand or employee discussions if available online to make sure they align with your personal values. Glassdoor.com is an interesting site where former and current employees anonymously post their reviews and experience with a certain company.
3. Research their website. You’re probably already doing this. It’s the easiest way for you to gather information about the company you want to work for. Be sure to browse and look through all their tabs. Look down towards the footer and find more detailed information such as the latest news, press releases, who their investors and partners are, their community outreach programs and more.
4. Seek out hiring managers and reach out to them online. LinkedIn is a good place to start researching hiring managers. Use the “advanced” feature on the right of the of the search bar. You will be able to plug in certain criteria that will help you find the people you need. You can also ask people who you are already connected with to make an introduction to someone you want to meet. Twitter and Quora are also great places to find and network with strangers who you want to get to know. Pay attention to who in your network is connected to these people. You can view degrees of separation on LinkedIn and who follows who on Twitter. Don’t forget Google+. There are a growing number of professionals there, particularly those working in science, engineering and technology fields.
5. Face-to-Face meetings are still important. Even in this digital day and age, nothing beats meeting and connecting with someone in person. There is so much more behind a company or an individual’s Twitter handle, Facebook page, website and LinkedIn profile. The only way to see that is when you meet in real life. We call it IRL. Social media has a special way of connecting people and breaking the ice so to speak. Meeting someone in real life after you’ve connected with them online is so much better than just meeting someone for the first time. It is possible to build relationships and rapport online with the right people so you can ultimately meet them in person. Before you know it, you’ll be calling people you meet by their Twitter handle!
Bottom line, do your research about the companies you want to work for then go out and meet the people who work for those companies. Remember, networking in any form is about building relationships and strong connections with people. Make sure you bring value to the table to make the connection mutually beneficial. Good luck and tell me how it goes.
Next in this series
Next week’s topic – Social Media for Jobs Series Part 4: Develop Thought Leadership Within Your Profession.
This is a five part series and you can get notifications when the next one comes out by choosing your RSS reader or subscribing below.