The search for a job is a full-time pursuit. In excess of 70% of vacancies never making it to the public domain and therefore networking is the key to career success. I know this to be true not only from the statistics, but from my own experiences and indeed feedback that I have had from many a job seeker or hiring manager with whom I have worked.
Just being in the game when it comes to your online presence is a start but on its own is not enough. Like anything, the more you put in the more you are likely to get out.
You need to be entirely clear as to what you want your online message, your personal brand, to say about you, to represent. Once you have developed your online presence, and you are clear that this is a true representation of your values, views, beliefs, personality, ideals, aspirations, you need to communicate your message consistently and persistently. It’s an investment and one worth making. Don’t expect instant results. The first new connection may not be the key to the job you crave, but if you value that relationship, invest time and effort in it, offer to help, add value, give, then you just never know where that may lead you.
Never underestimate the value of a new connection, for you know not instantly who they are connected to and where that may take you. Every new connection if treated in the right way, with respect and courtesy, is a potential doorway.
If you approach social networking with the view “What can I get out of it” then you experience is unlikely to be a positive one. Think instead “what can I give”. It doesn’t matter how big or small you may view the value of what you can give, I can guarantee that somebody somewhere will attribute enormous value to your contribution. The more you give, the more you will start to get back. It’s a simple principle.
In the last few weeks I have met with some incredibly gifted people from a wide range of backgrounds from all four corners of the planet. I was reflecting on how these new relationships have come about and what has made them work. The connections have come from referrals from incredibly giving people in my network. Social media is the doorway through which new relationships have come and will moving forward be maintained. However, in every case the relationship has moved forward to the next level, to a transactional level, to a level where we are doing or at least talking about doing business together. Whilst social media has been the facilitator, good old-fashioned face time has enabled these relationships to move on to another, mutually beneficial level.
We have so many platforms for non – verbal communication, text, email, inmail, IM, Facebook, Twitter. People email a colleague across an office rather than getting up to pass on a message. We hear of people who are more comfortable texting rather than speaking.
All of these forms of communication are invaluable, they have a place, but they are not the deal clincher. Intonation of voice, facial expression, non – verbal communication, good old-fashioned face time is what sets you apart and seals the deal. That is why the interview is the basis of the hiring process. If you spend all of your time online, you run the risk of losing the skills you need to close. Get in front of someone, listen, engage, ask questions, converse, communicate. Ultimately, that’s what makes things happen.