Feature: NetWORKing for Success Online
We recently took a look at the responses to date in our ongoing poll of job seekers on the Internet. For those of you who may not know, we at WEDDLE’s have been conducting this survey since 1996, asking both active and passive job seekers what they do in an online job search and what they don’t, what they like about looking for a job online and what they don’t, and most importantly, what works best when conducting a job search on the Internet. Between January 1st and May 31st of this year, over 13,000 people took the time to give us their views. (If you’d like to participate in our poll, please click here.)
One of the questions we ask in the survey is “What do you like best about today’s job boards?”. The most recent responses were not surprising:
Obviously, a central feature of a job board’s appeal is its free and easily accessible database of employment opportunities. However, a good job board offers much more than that. More expansive job boards-I call them “career portals”-offer tools and information on resume writing, interviewing and other aspects of a job search campaign to help you improve your performance and, therefore, your odds of success. No less important, they also often offer a way for you to expand your circle of contacts and the doors they can open on your behalf. And it’s our poll respondents’ very low, almost nonexistent use of that networking capability that has me worried.
Why? Because as in a traditional job search campaign, networking is a key activity in successfully using the Internet to find a new or better job. Indeed, it must be an integral part of every day during (and even after) a job search campaign. The word, itself, says as much; it’s netWORK, not netGetAroundToItWheneverYouCan. In other words, networking is something we have to work at it every day, and that’s true on the Internet as well as in the real world.
Thankfully, online networking (or e-networking) is extremely convenient. Unlike traditional networking, you can do it whenever and wherever you want-from the office or an airport terminal, from a coffee shop or a hotel room, even from home in your fuzzy slippers. If you have access to the Internet, you can e-network. And that’s the first challenge it presents. While you should e-network regularly, you should also be careful not to overdo a good thing. Make sure that the time you spend online leaves plenty of time for traditional networking and all of the other activities that are central to an effective job search. I recommend that you spend no more than 30 minutes per day e-networking.
The second challenge of e-networking is acquiring the skill required to do it effectively. The way you network online is very different from the way you network in the real world. Traditional networking is typically done one-to-one and verbally, either in meetings or over the phone. The key to success is who you know. If you can connect with the right person, then your prospects of landing the job you want go up.
On the Internet, in contrast, networking is done one-to-many and in writing. It typically involves messages you post to a discussion forum, listserv or chat area on a site sponsored by your professional association, alumni organization or affinity group (e.g., women in technology, veterans, former employees of the XYZ company). The key to success, then, is not who you know, but rather who knows you. The more contacts you can make by networking online, the more likely you are to find someone who can open the door to your dream job.
Whether you network online or in the real world, however, the Golden Rule remains the same. You have to give as good as you get. In other words, it’s not enough to simply show up at these discussion areas and watch the conversation unfold. You have to participate. If you want others to share their insights and tips, you have to be willing to share yours. Equally as important, you must treat these messages as business communications. Why is that? Because you never know who may be reading. More often than not, of course, it’s your colleagues, but it can also be a hiring manager or a recruiter, many of whom use these discussion areas to spot and connect with the top talent they need for their openings. So, edit what you write accordingly-a professional e-networking area is not the place to rant about politics or a previous employer-and proofread it carefully.
Everything you do online requires an investment of time and effort, so it’s important to focus on those activities that will serve you best. Although most people don’t yet realize it, one of the most effective job search techniques is e-networking. Done well, it can open doors that are closed to others, point you in directions you would otherwise never even know about, and set you apart from the herd in the competition for your dream job.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. June is Random Act of Kindness Month. Do something nice and totally unexpected for a colleague. Tell them about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll remember your kindness in June and every time they read the newsletter in the months that follow.
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
CareerJournal.com, from The Wall Street Journal published its survey of the best and worst career fields, based on salary prospects, job security, emotional stress and physical safety. And, the winners and losers are:
Choice, a review publication of the American Library Association announced that WEDDLE’s had four of its titles-its 2005/6 Guide to Employment Web Sites, 2005/6 Directory of Employment-Related Internet Sites, 2005/6 Guide to Association Web Sites and its WIZNotes series about fast facts on job boards-selected for inclusion in the magazine’s special August edition on Internet resources. Why should you care? Because it’s now likely that you’ll be able to find these books in your local library. We would like you to buy them, of course, but if you’d rather borrow them, check with your local library to see if they’re on the shelves (and if they’re not, ask the librarian to check their August issue of Choice for more information).
ExecuNet released the results of its recent survey of executive time-on-the-job. It found that corporate leaders are now holding their jobs for an average of just 3.6 years, down from 4.1 years in 2002. The respondents also reported that an astonishing 18% of the executives-almost one-in-five-did not survive their first year on-the-job. In short, the traditional security of the executive suite has now joined the gold watch and dependable corporate pensions as museum pieces. What should you do to protect yourself? Never stop looking for your next job even as you do the best job you can for your current employer. Keep up with your networking and build relationships with executive search consultants in your field. That’s not disloyal; it’s insurance … and preparation for the inevitable change that will now likely come sooner rather than later.
MedBizPeople.com, a site listed in WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Directory of Employment-Related Internet Sites, has apparently discontinued operations. Its URL is no longer working. Thanks to KLS of Vericom Corporation for bringing this to our attention.
Right Management Consultants provided an encouraging counterpoint to the ExecuNet survey cited above. Its recent poll of executive job seekers found that 45% now get hired within 6 months, down from 8 months a year ago. Said another way, all of that attrition among executives is opening up positions for other executives to fill. It would almost be a virtuous circle were it not for the stress and financial pain of a job search. Moreover, that timeline also tells us that more than half of all executives (55%) take longer than 6 months to land a new position. Therefore, to preserve your sanity (and the sanity of everyone else in your family), set realistic expectations. What’s realistic? It depends on your field, your industry and your location. Check with colleagues and career counselors in your area and ask them two questions: (1) how long are senior level job seekers with records similar to yours taking to find a new position; and (2) what one thing would they recommend you do to speed up the success of your job search campaign. Then, make sure that you discuss what you learned in question (1) with your spouse and that you use what you learned in question (2) to optimize the efficiency of your efforts.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. If you’re an experienced personal trainer who’s looking for a position with a local fitness center, which of the following sites would add muscle to your search?
2. You’re a Quality Control Chemist who wants to spend more time in the lab. Which of the following sites would likely provide the ingredients for finding just the right position?
3. You’re a sales professional who’s bilingual in Chinese and English, and you’re interested in working for a U.S. company that wants to enter the Chinese market. Which of the following sites would translate success into failure for your job search campaign?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories
Post full time jobs: Yes
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All
Distribution of jobs: National – USA
Number of jobs: 250+
Salary levels of jobs: up to $200K/yr
Offer a job agent: No
Resume database: Yes
How long are resumes stored: Indefinitely
Restrictions on who can post: Members only/former Andersen employees
Other services for job seekers: Listserv/discussion forum on-site, Career information, Links to other sites with additional information/resources
Answers to Site Insite
1. All but FitnessPros.com, the site of a bodybuilding resource center.
2. All of them.
3. Bi4You.com, the site of a German business intelligence company.