As I meet new clients, I’m continuously struck with how complex and overwhelming the social media environment has become for many people. Whenever I attend industry events or other similar gatherings where business cards are exchanged, one of the questions routinely asked is "are you on LinkedIn?" Well, many times new acquaintances are actively using LI as well as other similar venues. However, in the past two months, I have invited at least a dozen or so new people to join my LinkedIn network only to discover that I just became their first connection! I found this to be very surprising and wondered why that was the case…
In this day and age where there is no such thing as job security, one can’t afford not to maintain an active professional network. Competition is tough and even though the media portrays a dismal economic outlook, there are jobs available. The main difference now is that employers are able to be much more discreet and discerning about how and when they identify new talent. That makes networking even more valuable to those looking for new opportunities.
In the HR arena, there are always articles, studies, surveys, etc., covering the concept of generational gaps in the workforce. Personally, I tend to find the topic overblown and a rather dull form of stereo-typing. One specific element that these sources discuss is the differences in technology use between generations. On that single aspect, I’m not convinced that one’s age or demographics determine the likelihood of participating in social media networking. I do notice that personal networking i.e. myspace, facebook, blogging, etc., have grown quite popular, beyond their original core youth audience. In fact it is rare to come across someone yet to be using at least one form of online media with their contacts.
LinkedIn and Twitter are steadily gaining notoriety in the employment category, due to the extensive population of recruiters and hiring authorities using them as a talent acquisition venue. Based on that factor alone, it is hard to imagine anyone choosing to ignore this so-called "fad." Statistics suggest that relationship-based hiring methods continue to be more successful and cost-effective for employers. For job seekers, networking results in a much more fruitful and productive job search and creates a better return on investment than relying on other traditional techniques. Yet still there is some resistance by many to embrace this as a viable option…
Maybe for some it is the fear of the unknown or maybe they just haven’t found the social media networking tools personally useful – either way, the following is a list of tips that might help people gain the most advantage from their career-oriented social media networking experiences.
1) Build a complete & professional profile
2) Obtain / exchange solid & meaningful professional recommendations
3) Join & become an active participant in affinity groups for your industry
4) Use the forum for its intended purpose – don’t spam members
5) Engage in discussions, debates, etc., showing respect for others
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