Job seekers need to view networking as a way to share goals, build relationships, and help others. The more you focus on others, the more your networking will pay off. Taking the time to learn to network effectively before you start can mean the difference between success and failure.
Know Your Goals
Before you even create your first online account understand what your goals are for doing it. If you know what your goals are, you’ll be able to create better social media profiles that speak to your target audience in a clear and concise way.
Don’t just sit back and expect connections to be made. Use social media to search within your industry for the connections you want to make. Once you have a list of connections you want to make, find ways to communicate with them including blogging about them, commenting on their blogs and updates, and so forth. Target one new connection at a time for best results.
Before you even dream of asking someone for a favor, you should set out to build a solid relationship with each of the people you connect to. Let them feel like they know you before asking them for anything. Build relationships with the content you create and share your knowledge with connections freely before escalating to asking for favors.
Never try to be someone you’re not. It’s okay to be yourself on social media. But, you do want to be the most professional version of yourself to be successful networking online, because eventually, those connections should be taken offline to be the most successful.
Choose Networks Wisely
You don’t have to be on every single social media network that exists. It would be nearly impossible for you to keep track of all the places anyway. Chose one or two that are most active with your target audience and devote your time to that.
Be a Resource to Others
Go out of your way to comment on other peoples’ status updates in a helpful manner. Share other peoples’ information, point people to the right resource when they ask a question. Get known as the go-to person within your industry and you’ll develop an excellent reputation in your online networks that can be carried offline.
Remember, You’re Not Anonymous
Never forget that no matter what privacy settings say, you are not anonymous. Employers often search potential job candidates on the Internet to find out if they are who they say they are. Be super careful about controversial actions on the Internet that you would not want your employer to see.
Networking online is not much different from networking offline. The purpose is the same. The point is to get to know people within your industry that you can help, and that may be able to help you. As the old saying goes “It’s often not what you know, but who you know.” Well, really it’s a combination of the two. If you know a lot about your industry, and know the right people, you can write your own ticket.
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