Networking – Maximizing Traditional and Modern Online Approaches by wileyjobnetworks


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Miriam Salpeter
owner of Keppie Careers, a job search and social media strategist,
career coach, resume writer, author, and speaker

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You’ve heard “everything old is new again?” It’s true with job search, too. Job search coaches have always
advised strategically networking, because studies show the majority of jobs go to people who get referrals to
hiring managers. The difference between then and now is, in the old days, you needed to hope your brother-
in-law’s neighbour might know someone at the organization where you want to work and be willing to make
an introduction. Or, you hoped to get lucky and meet a key player at an in-person networking event.

However, we don’t all have great in-person networks, and not everyone can successfully network while
balancing a drink in one hand and a plate in the other. Luckily, online networking can help level the playing

Ideally, you’ll combine online networking with traditional networking approaches to fuel your job search
strategy. Here are some suggestions to get started:

1. Self-assess and formulate an elevator pitch. No matter what type of networking suits your fancy, you
need to know what you offer and succinctly introduce yourself to people you meet in person and online. Ask
yourself: What is unique and distinct about you and your skills? What accomplishments do you have that
should cause someone to want to learn more about you?

Use this information in your “elevator pitch” – the in-person introduction you use when you meet someone
in a professional context. Incorporate answers to these questions, and always keep in mind your target

  What is your goal/objective?
  What do you want to do? How does it relate to what your audience wants?
  What problem(s) do you solve? What results do you create?

For example: As an award-winning sales manager, I identify and mentor people with potential to become top
performers. Last year, all of my mentees won sales awards.

Once you know what you offer, use your in-person pitch to create your social media profiles. Adapt or
shorten it to fit your LinkedIn headline, your Twitter bio, and incorporate it into your Facebook and Google+
profiles. Your goal is to make it clear what you offer and whom you help so anyone reading your online
profiles will want to learn more about you.

2. Do your research. With so many people planning in-person events using online invitations, it’s easy to
learn who’s expected to attend specific events. Once you know who else is going, research the people you
want to meet. When you know something about them, it will help smooth the way for introductory
conversations. Use social media to learn where they went to school, what topics they discuss online, and
what interests them.

Since you won’t have a chance to meet everyone you’d like in person, use your research skills to leverage
social media contacts. Identify and reach out to people you want to know. Use the “Advanced” search
feature on LinkedIn to narrow down people who either work in organizations where you’d like to work, or
who may know someone who does. Check to search Twitter bios to find contacts who
share your interests and conduct keyword searches in Google+ to find people who post about topics that
interest you.
3. Use your ears (and your eyes). People enjoy the opportunity to talk about themselves, so if you're a good
listener, people will remember you after in-person meetings. Make an effort to listen more than you talk and
you may be surprised by how many friends you make.

Similarly, on social networks, make sure you aren’t doing the equivalent of standing with a megaphone
shouting into the air. Read what other people say and respond thoughtfully. Don’t consistently share or
retweet content without adding your own comments and insights. Get involved in the conversation by
listening first online and respond appropriately, as you might during in-person contacts.

4. Look the part. Pay attention to what you wear and what it says about you. Even if in-person networking
occasions are casual, you should still make an effort to dress better than you normally might. In addition,
consider wearing a conversation piece: something memorable that could inspire someone to talk to you. For
example, a colourful, in-style scarf or tie or a striking piece of jewellery can do the trick.

Similarly, on your social networks, make sure you “look good.” That means a professional avatar – a photo of
you in professional attire (even if that means your normal business casual wear). No matter how tempting it
is to use a photo of your pet in a cute sweater and hat as your Facebook picture, don’t do it. Everything you
share or post should be “picture perfect,” from your actual images to the content you provide.

When you recognize that in-person and social networking share many etiquette rules and conventions, it will
be easier to succeed using both tools.

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