Forget Social Media and Start Networking in the “Real World”
Log off from your Facebook account, turn off Twitter and start getting real with your networking. Professional networking is a must if you are looking to land your dream job – or at least a place of employment that you will enjoy. There are many networking opportunities for young professionals these days, including organizations dedicated to face-to-face networking. And those who show up – in person – are going to get the job
It is essential for recent college graduates to build a useful professional network both online and off. Fun and personal Gen Y blogs, and online chat addictions, will get job seekers only so far. You want to land that entry-level job? You’re going to have to more than just that internet-based job hunt. Despite the plethora of apps and sites that promise magical resume tweaking, and guarantees of getting you on top of the resume stack and face-to-face with the CEO - you need to log off and get out there.
Build Your Online Presence - First
Employers are just as savvy these days as the 20-somethings applying to their companies. They will check out potential candidates through social media outlets long before the interview. And if your only presence is “inside” humor swapping with your pals on Facebook – you might not appear “hire-worthy.” The best approach for recent college graduates to show their “professional” side, is to first brand themselves through a comprehensive, thought provoking blog. And please, make your blog interesting and engaging by addressing subject matters of interest – mainly professional. Personal blogs are a dime a dozen these days, and it seems that many four-year universities are churning out self-centered writers filled with modern day slang. Stand out in the online crowd of babble by posting blogs that include: proper grammar, professional subject material (namely your area of expertise, even if you are entry-level), and links to blogs that support your information.
Think Outside the Social Media 20-Something “Norm”
I’m not going to waste my (writing) breath on tips and tools for social media, simply because there is enough information out there by the masters of social media – 20-somethings. However, I would like to make one suggestion that has worked well for me: focus on just Twitter and your blog. Facebook, and the many other “chatty” sites are better at sucking time from your job hunt, than actually helping you land a job. Twitter has proven to be a stable driver to my blog - after all I can titillate thousands of others to visit my blog in five words or less. And since everything syncs beautifully through HootSuite – I don’t need to get sucked into online chatting!
Linkedin has become one of the most relevant online professional networking sites, as it is used by professionals of all ages, and positions. It is an impressive site that can help “pull” together your online presence, and gives an individual the chance to be viewed through blog posts, Tweets, and group interaction is reflected on the users profile page.
Finding Real Opportunities
Linkedin is one of many great sites to find “in-person” networking events, as well as “meet-ups” that can be found through Brazen Careerist, and meetup.com. But there are many more places to network outside of “set” professional events.
I cannot stress enough how effective volunteering is. Not only will you be helping those in need, but you will be rubbing elbows with other people dedicated to the “pay it forward” approach to life. Volunteering can also help give you some face-to-face time with potential employers (and employees), giving you both the chance to see if you work together well. Many employment success stories have come out of volunteer gigs!
Show up Prepared – In Person
It is essential to walk into any networking event with a poker face, because you usually only have 20 seconds into any introduction to make a great impression. So leave behind the woes of unemployment, put on your best outfit, and show up with your best “brand” on. Most likely you will run into many of the same individuals at various (local) networking events. These are the people who will potentially return to their boss with a recant of the event, including the people they met the night before. The more time spent with those you “click” with, the closer you are to landing your dream job – or at least full time employment. And good news, there’s actually a “virtual assistant” app out there to help assist you by maintaining your contacts via texting (thanks Ecquire!).
Long story short (too late); even though technology has provided us with enough virtual opportunities to never have to leave the desktop at home– we are still human. The best job matches to be found are in-person, when individuals can use their “human” senses to read the other. There is no virtual substitute for a gut reaction!top
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