Networking tools for your job search

Job SearchNetworkingSocial Marketing/Online Branding

If you have found yourself looking for a job in the past couple years, you are probably all too familiar with the frustration that usually accompanies the search. People with jobs will give you advice—they’ll tell you to update your resume, rearrange your resume, make your cover letter more personal but shorter, more informative but more concise, do more networking and less searching, do more searching and less emailing…you get the idea. The point is, you can follow these “tips” until you’re blue in the face, but what it usually comes down to is who you know. In fact, a recent statistic noted that nearly 80% of job positions filled in the last year were given to those with a personal referral.
If you’re thinking your search is now hopeless because you’ve already tapped into all of your personal referral resources, think again. With the ease of networking via the internet, there are several networks you can use not only to find connections you already have, but also to make new connections, so your personal connection well will never run dry. Almost anyone who has used the internet to help with their job search and networking will be familiar with Facebook and Twitter, but let’s take a look at few other sites, with a more professional twist, that will give you a leading edge in your efforts.
Plaxo: As far as keeping up with your contacts, Plaxo is your one-stop-shop. Not only does it store all of the contacts from your phone and computer, but it also tracks updates from your contacts from their Twitter and Facebook feeds, so you know what’s going on in their lives before you get in touch. This is especially helpful if you’re reaching out to an old friend or ex co-worker about a prospective job. It will help take away the “cold call” feel and help you get back in the loop quickly so you can get right to what matters.

Ecademy: This tool allows you to connect with other users on a business and social level. Essentially the “business happy hour” of the web, you can connect with people based on business connections you already have, as well as find groups of people who are interested in the same topics as you. For job searchers, this can be a great way to make real connections based on business concepts while getting your name and needs out there to people who trust you.
ZoomInfo: If you need to know more about the people within a company you’re interested in, ZoomInfo is a great source for you. It has been around for over 10 years and holds a database with the information of thousands of professionals. In addition, recruiters often use this site to find potential job candidates, so whether you know how to use it or not, it is always beneficial to set up a profile.
Xing: This is another tool geared towards gathering professionals in a social environment. However, for people looking for a job, this is a great site to join, as it has systems in place which specifically encourage social networking. Not only are there forums and discussion groups, which are always beneficial for job seekers, but there are also appointed “ambassadors” for each community with a decently sized constituency which then hold “events” which allow for the participation and communication of other members.
Whether you use one or all of these helpful technologies, the main idea is to get your name out there and build trust surrounding your name. While these tools help, there is no substitute for hard work and honest time spent, so get out there and make it happen for yourself. You might even end up with more than a job; you might just find your purpose.

Networking when Shy

How to Network if You are on the Shy side

I am the first to admit that networking with a bunch of strangers is not easy when you are shy. Early in my career, I was in sales (seriously) and would literally have to force myself to cold call. It was daily torture. I finally admitted to myself that maybe I was in the wrong field, and no, it was not hereditary (many family members were in sales). I was never that suave, chatty, BS’er-type that seemed to dominate my lineage.
Networking when you are shy is worse than a root canal.
I understand this first hand. So, when you would rather scrub your toilet then walk into a company that has never heard of you, here are a few different things you can do to help you cope with and overcome this predicament.
1) Join LinkedIn. The fabulous benefit of LinkedIn is that you can literally cold call without ever having to be face-to-face with a living being. Simply look up a company in the directory and send your resume to whoever is in charge. How easy was that?? Now, what I would really advise would be to find someone in your network, or one of your connection’s network, and ask them for the name of someone first. Then send that person an email and begin a dialogue. I can go on and on about LinkedIn. Most of you know I am obsessed with it. If you would like to know more, send me an email go here.
2) Join a Local Business Organization. The beauty of a joining a local organization (either business or volunteer) is two-fold. Or maybe tri-fold. Is that a word? Yes, but for a closet door. Anyway, I will make it work in this situation.
A- You can go and sit at a table and have a nice breakfast/lunch/dinner where minimal attention will be paid to you (unless you stand up and introduce yourself, and c’mon you can do that) and still get to know the organization, feel productive, and get excited because you got out of your comfort zone.
Once you are in that comfy place, you will start talking with people and slowly begin making new contacts/acquaintances/friends that you wouldn’t have made sitting at home in front of your computer posting your resume on the useless
C- Now that you are talking with people, you can tell them what you do for a living, find out what they do and see if you connect anywhere.
On a personal note: I joined my local Optimists organization when I got out of college and worked for the career center as a Career Counselor. Within a year of initiation, they recruited me to be President of our Chapter, which encompassed two cities. Talk about being nervous… (but that was with public speaking, and I had to get over it quick… that is a whole different story).
Let me tell you though, the contacts I made during that time were with professionals I still talk with to this day.
3) Tell everyone you know that you are job searching. Even if you are embarrassed about it or don’t want anyone to know that either you lost your job or your job is in jeopardy, or whatever the case may be, tell them. People like to help and you really never know who may know someone that you need to know. The stories my clients tell me about who helped them get their jobs are always priceless. Your dry cleaner? Your mail person? Your colleague? Yes, I’ve heard of all these great stories and more.
Networking is the #1 way to get a job, so even if it hurts a little, get out there and tell them who you are.