Has Networking Become A Waste Of Time For Job Seekers?

Not if you have a strategy, use the right technology and a " strong personal brand," says Amanda Todd, Social Media Manager for PWC's US Sourcing Group.

PWC has been successfully recruiting outstanding candidates from campuses across the country. Todd would like to see more students achieve their career goals, and offers some advice, and best practices that people who are either entering the job market, or wanting to advance to another organization, can use.

"I manage our organization's Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, and have seen how social media can level the playing field. Using social media strategically can help students be seen and heard in their target industry, by their target employers."

Amanda offers the following tips as a result of her work in social media, and recruiting the best talent, at PwC:

• Consider using Twitter. Follow the CEO of your desired organization on Twitter, and see who he or she follows and follow some of them. If you don't get a job at your target company, you may get one in a similar company.

• Read their comments. This will help you stay up to date on their company, get information about job openings, and also help you plan your conversation, when you do get an interview.

• You can respond to tweets, retweet posts that are relevant, and identify common interests.

"Students often feel it's harder to get their feet in the door," said Todd, but social media is a great erqualizer, because everyone can access almost anyone in some way on Twitter.

She said that the more you know about an organization, its leaders and what's important to them, the more prepared you'll be. That extra information might be in the form of job openings at smaller companies or start ups that are not posted yet, or details that will help you frame the conversation, if and when you do get an interview with the company.

PwC has put an emphasis on the importance of early personal branding for students. "We had a personal brand week this year and last year, where we helped students do that," Amanda told me. "Once they establish their personal brand, they can go on to develop an online profile for their professional brand in order to differentiate themselves from competition."

I asked her what should be in their profile. "Information like working as a journalist on the school paper, working on campus, articles written, extracurricular activities that demonstrate leadership," she said.

"When people develop their personal brand, they should think about how they want to be seen, and who they want to see it. Consider contributing ideas on professional networking sites."

This is a good time to unfriend and unfollow those people who you really don't know, and who don't care how inappropriate their posts are.

Although Personal Week 2.0 is over, PwC will continue to be a trusted advisor and offer its resources. Any student seeking any career, not just with PwC, can download the "Personal Brand Week 2.0" eBook.

My colleague Susan RoAne, author of the book, Face To Face: How To Reclaim The Personal Touch In A Digital World, reminds us that once you create your personal brand on social media sites, and receive that interview you want, you still have to know how to communicate, and be seen as the only one for the job.

As a speaker who addresses audiences of all ages and backgrounds, Susan says that, "Today's business leaders look for people who are socially adept and ready to offer a real-time handshake, a smile, an interesting conversation and an intelligent presentation."

The beauty of the Internet is that we have access to people across the globe and don't have to choose between offline or online: we get to have both!

I'll add that we need to use them both. There's no point in being highly qualified, and possess great interviewing skills, if no one knows you exist. You'll spend all your days being the best kept secret, waiting to be discovered at the grocery store.

Conversely, you can have great social media presence, an outstanding online brand, and requests for interviews, but if you lack social skills, and go to the interview in shorts, flip flops, and eating lunch, you'll end up a forgotten profile on Linked In.

Simma Lieberman creates inclusive workplace cultures where employees love to do their best work, and customers love to do business. She is a consultant, speaker and executive coach, and the co-author of the book, "Putting Diversity to Work; how to successfully lead a diverse workforce." Simma can be reached at simma@simmalieberman.com or 510-527-0700

Add New Comment

1 Comments

  • Lida Citroen

    I appreciate this blog a lot!

    One point is worth emphasizing: The
    basic foundation of a strong personal brand lies in authenticity. In
    order to build strong relationships and networks (in person and online),
    personal brands must be tight and compelling. Networking relies on your
    ability to understand who you are, what makes you unique and then
    applying your value in a genuine way to the needs of a target audience
    builds brand stickiness -- for companies and individuals.

    I work
    with individuals at both ends of the spectrum -- graduating college
    students and senior level executives. No matter where they are in a
    career, the ability to intentionally and effectively create a strong
    personal brand (and the reputation you desire) starts with the
    authenticity piece.

    Questions to ask yourself include: What do I
    believe in? What values do I possess that, if they were gone, I would
    cease to be me? What differentiates me from others who have the same
    skills and background as I do? What are my weaknesses that I must
    overcome?

    Then, personal branding is about marketing and
    directing towards your desired reputation. How do you want people to
    perceive you -- as an expert? as a collaborator? a leader? a visionary?
    What makes you credible?

    Personal branding -- and reputation
    management -- is a journey. Not a destination. The journey is rich with
    insight, relationship, opportunity and strategy. That is, if its done
    correctly.

    Lida