Feature: From “Notworking” to Networking Online

Feature: From “Notworking” to Networking Online

Feature: From “Notworking” to Networking Online

Using the Web to build up a huge address book of contacts is all the rage these days as a growing number of people worry about their employment security or actually find themselves out on the pavement looking for work. And why not, it’s quick, easy to do and very technically correct. In fact, many people now consider it the 21st Century equivalent of networking. Make a contact online, pop them in your trusty address book, and boom! you’re done. Whether you’re new to the workforce or a grizzled veteran, online networking is an absolute dream.

That view is correct, but not as most people understand it. Using the Web to make contacts is a dream. Unfortunately, however, it isn’t networking. If the purpose of the activity is to forge professional connections that can help you navigate your career successfully, then what’s being done today is better described as “notworking.”

Here’s the hard truth: there is no free lunch in networking. The word says exactly what it means. It’s netWORK, not net-get-around-to-it-whenever-it’s-convenient. Networking works because it establishes a relationship-familiarity and trust-between two or more people. It’s that relationship-not some connection twelve people removed from you-that enables you to acquire the assistance of others when you’re looking for a new or better job.

So why bother? If networking is so hard to do, why invest the time and effort? The answer is simple: many of the best jobs are filled that way. Most employers will tell you that their most effective recruiting tool is their Employee Referral Program. That’s networking. The organization relies on the relationships of its employees to find the talent it needs for its open positions. In other cases, recruiters do their own networking. You’ll find them at association meetings and alumni group events looking for prospects who are qualified for the jobs they’re trying to fill. The best of these recruiters don’t run around and collect as many business cards as they can; they focus instead on specific individuals and work on getting to know them.

And there’s the rub. Old fashioned networking is not only hard work; it takes a lot of time. You have to attend meetings, connect with people over lunch or after work and carve precious minutes out to talk to them on the phone or email them one at a time. That’s why most of us talk about networking and never get around to it. There are just too many other demands on our time during the day.

But, what if we could acquire the advantages of networking and eliminate or at least dramatically diminish the time it requires? What if we could make our efforts at building relationships highly efficient and thus much more productive? Well, that’s the power and promise of real online networking.

Online networking is not electronic contact management. It is an activity that connects you with others in the world of work and facilitates your developing the familiarity and trust of solid professional relationships with them, all at warp speed. If you accomplish only one of those objectives, you’re “notworking.” If you accomplish both, you’re networking and your investment of time and effort is much more likely to pay off.

How can you engage in real online networking? My suggestion is that you follow a simple three-step process.

Step 1: Pick the right site. Online networking occurs at sites which provide discussion forums, bulletin boards, listservers or chat areas. Not all sites offer such networking platforms, of course, but many do, so the first step involves finding the site or sites that will best connect you with your professional peers. They might be:

  • a professional association or society Web-site;
  • a commercial career portal (a job board with career as well as job search information);
  • a site operated by your undergraduate or graduate alumni organization;
  • an affinity group Web-site (e.g., women in technology; African-Americans in finance); or
  • a newsgroup (Google.com is the gateway to the Web’s 2+ million newsgroups).
  • Step 2: Learn the rules of the road. The people who participate at each of these discussion areas are a self-formed community. They may number fewer than a dozen or more than a thousand people in the U.S. and around the world. To ensure that you will be welcomed into the community, therefore, you must make sure you understand and then participate according to its (almost always unwritten) standards. How can you know what they are? Once you’ve joined the group, lurk before you launch off. Look over the shoulder of the participants and see how they interact with one another. Are they formal or informal in their messaging? How do they handle disagreements or opposing points of view? What kind of vocabulary is the norm and do they tolerate profanity? You needn’t conform to a particular point of view at most of these sites, but you do need to conform to their rules of behavior.

    Step 3: Practice the Golden Rule of Networking. The rule is as simple as it is profound: You have to give, if you want to get. In other words, if you want others to share their insights, expertise and relationships with you, you must do the same for them. That’s why networking is work. You have to do it regularly in order to build up a reservoir of good will, a rainy day fund of familiarity and trust that you can tap into as your career requires. For that reason, I recommend that you network online twice a week for no less than 30 and no more than 60 minutes per session. Thirty minutes is the minimum necessary to establish relationships online, while the 60 minute cutoff ensures that you don’t get seduced into spending too much time at this one activity. Then, be the best professional colleague you can be in each and every networking session in which you participate.

    Finally, as helpful as online networking can be, it is a supplement to, not a replacement for traditional networking. Despite what technophiles and Internet enthusiasts will tell you, landing a dream job still requires human interaction. That interaction can begin on the Web and even be enriched there, but it cannot occur exclusively online for one simple reason: real people not virtual ones fill jobs.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about the WEDDLE’s newsletter.

    P.S.S. Don’t forget to send us your new e-mail address if you move.

    This Issue’s Sponsor: WEDDLE’s Books

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of WEDDLE’s Guides and Directory, the leading reference books for online job search success. Think of them as Career Aids for Hard Times.

    You can follow the herd and go to the same job boards everyone else is visiting online or you can shop smart and find the job boards that are best suited for you. You can add your application to the hundreds of others being submitted for the jobs everyone else is seeing or you can find the special opportunities posted at lesser known job boards and career portals. The choice is yours.

    If you want to take the path less traveled and find a great job online, you’ll need the gold standard of job board guides: WEDDLE’s. WEDDLE’s publications are your road map to the best of the 50,000+ job boards now operating on the Internet. WEDDLE’s books include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the career fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden job market” online, it details the employment resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • These books are a smart investment for the smart professional. They provide a real and important competitive advantage in your search for a great job, even during a difficult economy. So, don’t delay! Click on the link to your left or call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 and place your order today.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Some years ago, the Bell Telephone Company of Canada conducted a study to determine how perceptions are communicated during interviews. The goal was to understand how interviewers made up their minds about prospective employees. They found that:

  • 55% of the interviewer’s perception was derived from visual clues, such as body language and facial expressions;
  • 37% of the interviewer’s perception was derived from the manner in which the message was conveyed, including the speed at which a person spoke and their tone of voice; and
  • just 8% of the interviewer’s perception was derived from the actual information that was presented.
  • That may be why the best person for a particular position is often not the one selected by an employer. In fact, some research indicates that the wrong person is picked about half the time. How can you protect yourself? During an interview, be as mindful of how you say something as what you say. For most of us, interviewing is an acquired skill, and for all of us, interviews are too important to simply go in and wing it. Therefore, prepare accordingly. If you are good at critical self-assessment, practice interviewing in front of a mirror; if you’re not, ask a friend who will honestly, but gently critique you. The goal is not to come across as rehearsed, but instead, to sound and look like the talented person you are.

    JobFox released its report on the state of the job market. Its major conclusion? While the value of the dollar continues to shrink, many job seekers-including those in high demand professions-are accepting employment at lower salaries than they did just a month ago. Indeed, in some career fields, the median salary range of new hires has dipped $10,000 in just the last 30 days. For example:

  • Software Design/Development: was $95,000-$105,000 in April, in May is $85,000-$95,000;
  • Product Management: was $95,000 in April, in May is $85,000;
  • Finance: was $75,000 in April, in May is $65,000;
  • Government Contracts Administration: was $65,000 in April, in May is $55,000;
  • Networking/Systems Administration: was $75,000 in April, in May is $65,000.
  • How can you minimize or even prevent such pay erosion? Be at the top of your game in your profession, craft or trade. Enroll in a course that introduces you to the latest developments in your field and add that course to the Education section of your resume with the notation “On-going.” Such a step will show prospective employers not only that are you aware of the importance of keeping your skills up-to-date, but that you also take personal responsibility for doing so. It’s an attribute that will definitely help you stand out from the competition.

    Media consultant Marsha Friedman published her 10 tips for transforming yourself into a great spokesperson on television. Why do you care? Because employers, recruiters and hiring managers watch TV, so it’s a great way to promote yourself and build your personal brand. How do you do that? See if you can get a spot on a local newscast or other show talking about the latest developments in your industry or the changing requirements for successful job performance in your field. Then, follow Marsha’s 10 tips which are listed below with some commentary from me:

  • Be energetic-Be outgoing and engaged with the interviewer;
  • Be mindful of body language-Avoid squirming in your seat and excessive hand movements;
  • Research current news topics-Be able to relate your topic to the rest of the world;
  • Don’t sound rehearsed-Practice speaking about your key points but not reciting them;
  • Don’t be wordy-Stick to the point and make it clearly and succinctly;
  • Pace yourself-Don’t race through your comments or drag them out;
  • Be descriptive-Paint word pictures to help others understand your message;
  • If you stumble, stutter or slip-up, forget about it and move on-No one is perfect including network news anchors;
  • Get to the point-Listen carefully and answer directly;
  • Convey appropriate emotions-Don’t tell jokes about or make light of serious subjects.
  • WEDDLE’s announced a fast-acting and effective antidote to slower hiring in a slow economy. It’s WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards. These books are a quick reference to job openings on the Internet and an inexpensive job search aid. Each WIZNotes includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific career field or employment situation. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineering professionals,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus, there are WIZNotes on:

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot! To order your WIZNotes, click on the link to your left or call 317.598.9768. Order today!

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    mediabistro

    http://www.mediabistro.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-Part time, Contract

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Number of jobs: 1,000

    Salary levels of jobs: $51-75K/yr, $76-100K/yr

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: N/A

    Restrictions on who can post: N/A

    Other services for job seekers: Discussion forums, Career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Please Support Our Sponsor; WEDDLE’s Books

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of WEDDLE’s Guides and Directory, the leading reference books for online job search success. Think of them as Career Aids for Hard Times.

    You can follow the herd and go to the same job boards everyone else is visiting online or you can shop smart and find the job boards that are best suited for you. You can add your application to the hundreds of others being submitted for the jobs everyone else is seeing or you can find the special opportunities posted at lesser known job boards and career portals. The choice is yours.

    If you want to take the path less traveled and find a great job online, you’ll need the gold standard of job board guides: WEDDLE’s. WEDDLE’s publications are your road map to the best of the 50,000+ job boards now operating on the Internet. WEDDLE’s books include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the career fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden job market” online, it details the employment resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • These books are a smart investment for the smart professional. They provide a real and important competitive advantage in your search for a great job, even during a difficult economy. So, don’t delay! Click on the link to your left or call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 and place your order today.