Feature: Will Social Networking Get You a Job?

Feature: Will Social Networking Get You a Job?

Feature: Will Social Networking Get You a Job?

Networking is one of the best strategies for finding a new or better job. Right? Right. And, social networking clearly involves networking. Right? Right. So, social networking is the new and improved way to land the job of your dreams. Right? Wrong.

It’s hard to miss the buzz about social networking. The media has been all agog over the rapid rise of such sites as Friendster.com, MySpace.com, LinkedIn.com, YouTube and Tribe.net. They attract millions of visitors every month providing lots of opportunity for individual interaction and relationship building. While this activity is indeed networking, however, the most important aspect of its description is the adjective that defines it: “social.” The contacts and connections are mostly about finding a date, mate or long lost relative. That may be a ton of fun, but it’s unlikely to get you hired.

In the past, I’ve used the term e-networking to describe electronic or online networking, but given the rise of the social networking sites, I’ve decided to re-define it as “employment networking.” e-Networking-employment networking-is unlike its very social cousin in three important ways:

  • It has a different purpose;
  • It is performed in a different way; and
  • It takes place on different sites.
  • Let’s explore each of those distinctions further.

    Employment networking has a different purpose

    Boiled down to its starkest terms, social networking has a social goal: to find a date, to connect with someone with whom you share a hobby or other interest, or to expand your circle of friends with friends of your friends.

    e-Networking, on the other hand, is done to connect you with those who can help you land a new or better job. These contacts include current and former colleagues, former bosses and coworkers, and even recruiters. There is, of course, a social component to the interaction-you should treat these individuals with the same courtesy and respect you would like to receive-but its goal is employment, pure and simple.

    Employment networking is performed in a different way

    Social networking involves informal introductions and casual conversations in cyberspace. Think of it as a virtual Truman Show where people eagerly and pleasantly meet and greet one another via e-mail. There’s no obligation to participate, no downside to not doing so, and no performance standard to be met if you do participate.

    e-Networking, in contrast, requires active participation, and the quality of your effort will determine the return you achieve from your investment of time. Why is that? Because in employment networking (whether it’s done online or off) the key to success is giving as good as you get. You have to share your knowledge, information and job contacts if you want others to share theirs.

    No less important, that sharing must be done regularly so that it builds familiarity and trust among those with whom you are networking. Their confidence (in you) reassures them that they can safely refer you to a business associate or colleague. That reassurance is critical because sharing friends on a social networking site is not particularly risky; but putting someone in touch with a business contact is. It can harm your reputation or even jeopardize your employment, if the person you refer turns out to be less than business-like or worse.

    Employment networking takes place on different sites

    Since the purpose of e-networking is to find a new or better job, it must be accomplished where your effort is most likely to connect you with people who have knowledge of or access to genuine employment opportunities-your professional peers and the recruiters who focus on your career field and industry. Hence, the best e-networking venues are the discussion forums and bulletin boards at the sites operated by:

  • your national and state-level professional associations;
  • your national and state-level trade groups;
  • your technical school, college, and/or graduate school alumni organizations; and
  • certain affinity sites that may be important to employers (e.g., women in technology, African American certified public accountants, veterans).
  • If you need help identifying the best associations and other networking groups for you (and the address of their Web-sites), try:

  • the Association Directory at my site. It’s organized by career field and industry and is free to use.
  • my WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guide to Association Web Sites. This book describes the networking resources at over 1,800 professional, technical and trade associations in the U.S. and around the world. You can read more about it and, if you decide to do so, place an order here.

    Finally, please don’t misread my comments above as a criticism of social networking; it’s not. Social networking takes time, however, and it won’t do much if anything to advance your job search. So, here’s my suggestion: first, devote some serious energy to e-networking and then, after that’s done, go ahead and relax with a little social networking … or, better yet, get out and meet the neighbors.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The American Staffing Association released the results of its study of temporary work in the U.S. workplace. It found that over half of the workers polled (59%) have, at some point, taken a temporary job as a stepping to landing a permanent position. In other words, temp work isn’t something that’s done only by the unemployable or by those willing to work in the lousiest jobs for the lousiest employers. It can and often does provide an opportunity for you to show what you can do in a meaningful position that can lead to full time employment with a great organization. The survey respondents also cited a number of other advantages to taking temp work, including scheduling flexibility (41%), additional income (40%), and access to training (40%). Almost nine-out-of-ten (88%) would recommend temp work to a friend or relative. And, most of the more than 13,000 people surveyed were of working age; only 10% were students and just 3% described themselves as retired.

    BottomLineSecrets.com published some important tips for business travelers heading into the peak fall travel season. To get the best rate for your hotel room:

  • call the hotel’s local number, not the 800 number of its centralized call center and
  • call right after 6 p.m., when most hotels delete their no-shows and start looking to fill up their vacancies.
  • To cut your bill a bit, negotiate your services-parking and even telephone rates are often more flexible than the hotels make them appear. And, to get a room when the hotel is saying it has no vacancies, tell the manager you’re willing to take an “out of order” room. Such rooms may have irregularities as simple as a stain on the carpet or a chair that needs repair, and if you’re willing to overlook them, you may be able to get yourself a room when officially there aren’t any available.

    Fast food chain KFC released the results of its study of the lunch time habits of U.S. workers. It found that less than 10% of the surveyed employees take a full 60 minutes for lunch. Three quarters of the respondents, in contrast, said that their productivity goes up after they take a noontime break, so what’s causing this behavior? While overworking supervisors modeling bad behavior undoubtedly have an impact, employees themselves are often also to blame-over half (56%) said they use their lunch time to run errands or to play games and shop online. What should you do? Take care of yourself and your career. Take a break at midday, eat a healthy (i.e., non-fast food) meal and get a little exercise. It will make you feel better and improve your on-the-job performance. Give yourself just that much of a break, and you’ll likely increase both the satisfaction and the paycheck you bring home from work each day.

    The National Sporting Goods Association announced the launch of its JobCenter. The site requires you to register to use its services, but offers a job database, a resume database with a confidentiality feature, and a job agent. The association’s members include sporting goods retailers and wholesalers. Postings typically cover a range of career fields including accounting/bookkeeping, warehouse operations, training, and sales.

    WEDDLE’s is pleased to announce the impending publication of its 2007/8 books. They are completely updated and expanded editions of its three signature titles:

  • 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 occupational 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 will not be available to the public until December. WEDDLE’s newsletter subscribers, however, can order them now and be the first to receive them when they are shipped in late October or early November. All three books have exactly the same price as their 2005/6 editions. To place your order, please call WEDDLE’s at 203.964.1888.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. The school bus company for which you work has just been sold, and you don’t like the policies of the new owner. If you’re an experienced vehicle mechanic, which of the following sites would keep your job search humming with new employment opportunities?

  • AutoJobs.com
  • CareerBuilder.com
  • GreaseMonkey.net
  • MechanicCareers.com
  • 2. You’ve just completed a three year stint in the U.S. military and want to find a position as a technician working for a cable company. Where could you go online to get a clear picture of the job openings in your area?

  • Cabl.com
  • WirePeople.com
  • RegionalHelpWanted.com
  • CableConnections.com
  • 3. You’re an experienced comptroller looking to move from a big transnational corporation to a smaller company in your hometown. Which of the following sites would likely pay off fast in your job search?

  • 6FigureJobs.com
  • ExecuNet.com
  • Jobs.net
  • AFPonline.org
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    TopUSAJobs.com

    http://www.topusajobs.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: National – USA

    Number of jobs: 200,000+

    Salary levels of jobs: $31-50K/year, $76-100K/year

    Offer a job agent: No

    Resume database: No

    How long are resumes stored: N/A

    Restrictions on who can post: N/A

    Other services for job seekers: Career information, Links to other sites with resources

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but GreaseMonkey.net, the Web-site of a car maintenance franchise company.

    2. Only Cabl.com and RegionalHelpWanted.com. WirePeople.com is the site of an online store for business products; CableConnections is the site of a store for tech professionals.

    3. All of them.

    N

    N

    N

    N