When you use social networking sites in your job search, the people of most interest to you will likely fall into two basic categories:
- Those who might hire you
- Those who have common professional experience and are consequently high-value networking contacts
With the potential hiring managers, usually one or two title levels above you, the approach will be professional and direct, sending an email to introduce yourself (see Knock em Dead Cover Letters) and ask that they look at your bio, which of course is your resume. If this contact proceeds to a conversation and interviews, fine, if not you can ask for leads and suggestions.
With professionals like yourself, but someone not in a position to hire you, it’s best to build a relationship by finding common ground. You can initiate relationships by asking for advice, and many people will make time.
But you will be more effective asking for help when you offer something of value yourself, because when you offer good things, forging a relationship with you becomes a higher value proposition to others.
What can you offer a stranger that is likely to have high-perceived value and will encourage a relationship that shares introductions and job leads? The answer is logical: use the job leads that you cannot use yourself, because in your job search activities you are constantly coming across jobs that aren’t right for you, but could be just what someone else is aching to hear about.
It’s a not-always-so-funny thing about job search that when you are fresh out of school no one is hiring entry-level workers, they all want you to call back in five years. Then five years later when you happen to be job-hunting again everyone wants someone fresh out of school or with ten years experience.
So take these useless-to-you job postings and offer them to others as part of your networking communications.
On social networking sites you can sometimes make direct contact, or alternatively you send an email through the chain of people who connect you, stating why you want to make contact.
In the first instance the email might say,
“I see we are in the same profession. As a _______, I am involved in a strategic career move right now and have come across some jobs that aren’t right for me, but which could be interesting for you or someone you know. I am happy to share job leads I have and would appreciate the opportunity to seek your advice: you might have heard about something that would suit me…”
When you have to request an introduction through others in the network, you’ll state why you want to reach that person, using much of the information in the paragraph above, and ask them to forward your request.
There are many questions you might want to ask in networking conversations: Who is their company looking for? Who hires professionals like you at the company? Would they give you an introduction? What companies have they heard about that are hiring? For more questions to ask when networking you’ll want to study Knock em Dead 2011:The Ultimate Job Search Guide.
Networking takes time, but the more you reach out in courteous and positive ways, the more others will reach out to you in turn. A word of caution, online networking is a very attractive tool, but a single tool nevertheless. Use it in proper combination with a properly coordinated plan of attack for your job search.
Join Martin every week to learn more about writing a killer resume, getting more job interviews and turning job interviews into job offers at his free weekly webcast, Mondays at noon central. Details: http://my.knockemdead.com