Social networking for a job opportunity involves looking for people at your level with whom to network. But almost more importantly, it also means to connect with anyone in your industry and/or geography can be a useful contact regardless of title or experience.
The key is to network with people who fall into two basic categories;
- those who might hire you, and
- those who probably won’t hire you but who have common experience and/or interests.
The formula for a winning job search using social media involves engaging in conversation as quickly and as often as you can with the people who can hire you. Social media outlets including Facebook and LinkedIn have made finding and opening dialogue with these people much easier. The most valuable networking contacts for your job search are the people who:
- Hold job titles one, two, and three levels above your own
- Hold job titles similar to your own
- Hold job titles that interact with yours
- Work in staffing as corporate recruiters and headhunters
These are the people who are most likely to know of job openings, and are the most likely to have the authority to hire you. This is common sense — the challenge, of course, is how to find them.
Who wants to connect with you?
You might be asking yourself, “Who wants to connect with someone like me? What value do I offer a connection?”
The answer is that professionals have always known that strong networks are crucial to any smart job search or career move. They may be looking to you one day for a job opportunity!
Social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook have vastly improved the ease and speed of building professional networks. Building professional connections that might otherwise have been very difficult if not impossible is now something every one can achieve.
Strive for a goal you aim to reach via social networking. Whether that goal is to land a new job, or establish a relationship with a seasoned professional allowing for picking his or her brain, don’t get discouraged if you reach a dead-end. The beauty is that there are numerous other outlets to explore if one proves fruitless.
LinkedIn & Facebook Groups
If you’re a seasoned LinkedIn networker, you are probably aware that relevant professional networks are not only desirable — for reasons that extend far beyond job search —but also are surprisingly easy to foster. One of LinkedIn’s strengths is its thousands of special interest groups that encourage you to communicate and connect with other professionals who share a common interest. On LinkedIn, you can join up to 50 different groups.
Networkers on Facebook also have the invaluable asset of specialized group pages. Businesses and professional organizations host Facebook Like pages that allow the like-minded to congregate and share ideas and news. Twitter also can be used similarly for connecting with professionals of similar drive and interest.
You get on board with social networking by becoming a member of groups relevant to your profession, but don’t just sign up and troll for contacts. Become too brazen with connection requests and you’ll get blocked before you even get started.
One of the best ways to utilize LinkedIn is to participate in the many discussion forums within the groups you join — the people you want noticing you. Make time to follow these discussions. Participation in discussion forums gives you a way to advertise who you are and what you do without appearing to do so. With LI groups, anyone can start a discussion and join in.
Other ways to boost your social media presence include:
- Make comments and “like” the posts of people who you want to network with, then ask them to connect.
- Start discussions of your own. The easiest way is to post a link to a professionally relevant article, blog or video. Then connect with the people who comment — that they clicked on your link demonstrates a common interest.
- Search the group’s membership list for high-value job titles, and request a connection based on a shared profession and group. You can’t connect to just anyone on LinkedIn. You need to share a group or a contact in common with your target if you wish to connect with her.
- You can also make high-value networking contacts by searching the LinkedIn database and keying in a job title and location. For example, a staffing sales representative living in Lafayette might use these search terms: “Sales Staffing Lafayette”
The profiles that show up in your search — and there will be thousands —will include people holding this and similar titles, plus headhunters and recruiters who work in either this same location and/or area of professional expertise. Your next step is to check relevant profiles to see if you have mutual connections that can justify a connection request. Sometimes these profiles will contain an e-mail address. This makes contact even easier.
Shared membership in a group counts as an existing connection, and LinkedIn will tell you about group memberships you have in common. If you don’t have a group in common, you can simply join one of the groups in which your target “sales representative” belongs. Remember to check the person’s “contact info,” listed under “education” at the top of the profile.
Cross-Reference Companies and Job Postings
When your research identifies companies of interest or you come across relevant job postings, you can also perform a LinkedIn database search. For example, you find a job for a welder at Bollinger New Orleans at the Port of New Orleans and do a search using “Welder Bollinger New Orleans.” You will likely find people with the exact title or one similar who worked at Bollinger in New Orleans – or, at least have connections to someone who does.
These results will often give you direct contacts to potential hiring managers, or at least, the people who know the potential hiring managers. Every relevant connection will get you closer to getting into a conversation with someone who has a job opening and the authority to hire you.