Networking has gone completely digital. Just like they have impacted everything else in the free world, sites like Facebook and Linkedin have altered the entire structure of professional networking.
Here are a few tips to help you survive in the digital networking age:
Find Contacts Everywhere
When you apply to a new company, it never hurts to scour your social media friends’ lists and see if anyone works there - or if anyone knows someone who works there. Sites like LinkedIn are especially great for this because you can see the contacts of contacts and what positions they hold. It only takes one positive review to give you that special “in.”
Join Online Groups
One fantastic way to unearth contacts is to join online groups. Facebook hosts everything from the “Toronto Finance Geeks Association” to a “Montreal Lawyers” group for those who have passed the Quebec Bar. If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed through my own networking, it’s that people like to talk about themselves. Don’t be scared to ask an online contact how he or she started out in the industry or for advice on your job search strategies.
Get Resume Help
You have nothing to lose by getting your resume out there. One of the greatest ways to use a contact is to have them take a look at your resume and help you tweak it. Either they will tell you it looks great (and maybe even pass it along to people they know) or they will make helpful pointers on how to better market yourself.
The idea of six degrees of separation in the working world is fast diminishing. These days it only takes two or three contacts to get you to the person you need to meet to land that job. The magic of the Internet is that we have the capabilities to reach out to all sorts of prominent individuals that we would never have had any means to contact years ago. Never assume that someone is too far out of reach.
Use Blogs as a Tool
- Manners still matter. When working online, people have a tendency to forgo a lot of the polite gestures that one would extend when approaching someone new in the physical world. Be careful to approach contacts with the proper amount of decency and respect.
- Be realistic. Not every person you contact is going to respond. In fact, most probably won’t. But the more people you reach out to, the better chance you have of increasing your online Rolodex. Try not to take things too personally and know that even the best and brightest sometimes go overlooked.
- Don’t pester contacts. It’s important not to get too caught up in the networking game. People are busy and may not respond right away (or ever). That doesn't give you license to hound them on a different form of social media. Stick to one initial message and a polite follow-up a few weeks later just in case they missed your note.
Adapted from www.monster.ca
By Brandon Miller
Monster Gen Y Contributing Writer