I receive quite a bit of spam and junk mail due to owning my own business, most of which I just delete without even looking at it. But last week I received an article with this title, and had to open it right away.
Though this article is specifically geared to business owners, many of the same points still apply to job seekers:
1. First of all, YOU are not “too cool” for online networking. As the title says, only George Clooney can get away with saying that. And if you are looking for a job (or think you will in the next few months), then this is the time to utilize every single networking opportunity you can find.
Remember, George Clooney didn’t get to be “George Clooney” overnight. I think that if he was still that up-and-coming actor on Roseanne looking for his next big break, he might be singing a very different tune.
2. You need to be involved. I can’t tell you how many people I work with that think that putting up a profile up somewhere (not even usually complete) is all they need to do. They sit back waiting to be discovered, and wonder why it’s not happening.
I promise you, as a former actor myself, George Clooney did not get that life-changing job on ER by waiting to be found. He pounded the pavement, hobnobbed, shook hands, schmoozed, busted his bum, and NETWORKED. Whatever you might want to call it, networking takes work. So, utilize your online social network resources and take advantage of all their various potential.
3. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. I don’t think people can hear this enough. If you are on LinkedIn and Twitter and all you do is beg people to give you a job, no one will listen. Why? Because no one wants to hire someone who’s desperate and a beggar. Instead, focus on what your network needs. Pass along a referral to a recruiter, or recommend a friend for a position that you know you’re not right for. Research current and relevant industry information and share the information willy-nilly.
All of these acts of generosity will do two things: First, it makes you look like YOU are in-the-know, and an expert in your field. Plus it will keep you from looking like every other desperate job seeker, and that is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Second: After a while, good karma will come back to you. People will feel “guilty” “obligated” even subconsciously, and remember your name. They will begin to refer people to you in return, or reciprocate with advice to you.
However, you can not go into it expecting and waiting for that reciprocation. If you do, they will pick up on it, and automatically the good karma effect will stop. You have to accept up front that you are doing this to help them as a free gift with no strings attached.
(And if you are George Clooney . . . please call me. I’ve been sitting by waiting to be discovered for way too long.)