Online Networking for Job Seekers

You’ve heard it a million times: “Success is not just about what you know; it’s about who you know.”  And this is especially true if you are looking for your dream job.

With the explosion of social media networking sites, business networking too has taken to the online platform in leaps and bounds. It allows you to connect with far more people than you would manage face to face and allows you to make contacts across the globe thus broadening your business opportunities from your local town to cities worldwide. The other advantage is 24/7 accessibility and freedom from having to be in a particular place at a particular time to network online.

Online networking is NOT the same as online job search portals. Think facebook for business. The world’s largest professional online network is LinkedIn.  Introduced in the year 2003, LinkedIn has over 85 million members in over 140 industries. Most members are professionals not looking to post something on your Wall or date you. Executives from all the Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. The member profiles are based on their work skills, certifications, interests, current and past employment and recommendations.

LinkedIn has become a highly effective tool for branding, networking, and job-seeking, if applied correctly and used with the right intention. It is free to join with an option to upgrade your membership to include the facility to directly contact and search the profiles of members of the whole network. The online learning centre on the site can support whether you are a new user, job seeker or an established entrepreneur wanting to develop your business further.Any networking is building relationships with 3 fundamental stages of knowing, liking and trusting. The key to getting the most out being a member is to take time with building up relationships and helping others. The more you put in the more you will get out. Recommendations from peers as online testimonials build trust and showcase strengths. When you think there is a potential benefit in talking with someone then you can always pick up the phone and perhaps arrange to meet.

Follow these four steps to creating your online resume that showcases your skills and connects you to your dream job.

1.      Profile yourself

This is your resume online. Create an engaging profile with all the information that you would like to be available to a prospective employer. Put more information than you have on your resume. Everything you list increases your chances of being found. Add your photograph to your profile. If you have examples of your work such  as presentations or videos online, link them to your profile.

2.      Get recommended

Recommendations are a great way to add quality, less biased content to your profile. Use email, phone calls and personal requests to your business associates and employers to get testimonials on your work and build your professional credibility. More is better as head-hunters look at this number, the quality of the recommendations, and of course who is giving them.

3.      Do your research

Do you know the companies you want to work at? There is so much information to be found online about companies, their culture and staff. Interact actively through online professional groups and forums where they are in and participate. Listen, interact, and treat everything you say as thoughtfully as you would in an interview. Also research your recruiters or interviewers. You can learn more about their background to have an edge over other candidates.

4.      Check out the Jobs

Job listings on LinkedIn Jobs are growing rapidly: till a year ago there were no job listings for Indonesia and currently there are over 50 high level jobs.  You can search using keywords, title, company, and location to find the perfect opportunity from thousands of job listings for each category. Leverage the elements on your profile to help make yourself stand out.

5.      Leverage your connections

Leverage your connections to help you find the right contacts at the company you are interested through introduction requests. As Guy Kawasaki says ‘Find a connection at the company who can get the inside scoop on what really matters for the job. You can do this by searching for the company name; the results will show you who in your network connects you to the company.’

Consider online business networking as complementary to face to face networking activities – it may not replace it however provides further opportunities you might not otherwise find. You will need to participate intelligently and carefully to establish a business-like online presence for yourself. Then connect with other human beings, off-line, usually to close the deal.  The more active you are and the more people you engage with, the more success you will have. Get involved to land your dream job.

online networking

Article as published in IndiaSE April 2011

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