As a job seeker, despite the rapidly shrinking economy, you have never really had it so good. Gone are the days of creating each cover letter individually, printing off hard copies of your CV and posting the small number of carefully selected applications via snail mail. No more Lever Arch files containing pristine cut outs of each press ad applied for. No more logging each application response, stage by brutal stage. No more waiting for the response letter to hit the mat and clocking it was sent by 2nd class post – the reject ‘giveaway’.
Ok, so maybe it was only me who kept it all in OCD orderliness, but you get the picture. Nowadays, the internet has opened up a whole new world to the jobseeker and more new channels are appearing every few months. Looking for a job, it seems, has never been easier even if actually finding one is getting harder! Applying for a job is just a click away (Which is not always a good thing but that’s another post altogether!) and with so many open professional and social networks through which you can showcase your skills and experience you can connect with literally thousands of people directly or indirectly who can significantly increase your chances of getting that next job. Anyone in the professional arena who does not yet have a LinkedIn profile for example needs to think very seriously about getting one. Pronto.
However, one of the advantages of the LinkedIn type medium can also be one of its biggest drawbacks – connections are only a click away. One look at my LinkedIn home page every morning and I can see that some of my connections are waking from months of dormancy and connecting to 12 or 15 people in a row, per day. A veritable feast of connections! But before you embark on a connection frenzy, ask yourself how real and useful these connections are. Sure, sometimes even a loose connection can pave the way for a great opportunity, but nothing beats actually ‘knowing’ someone. Linked in is, after all, a Rolodex. To make the most of it you still need to work the network and that means getting to know them better. And what better way to do that than to actually meet them face to face.
My advice, for what it’s worth:
- Spend less time making your network wider and invest more time in making it deeper
- Go through your connections and make a mental note of when you last had any kind of interaction with them. If it’s been a while and you still want to be connected then make an effort to reach out to them.
- Look out for your connections on some of the other social media platforms like Twitter. Twitter, especially, provides a more ‘immediate’ contact environment and is a good way to re open a dialogue that may have been dormant for some time.
- If you are joining groups on LinkedIn, try and attend the face to face gatherings some of them offer. Make a list of the people you want to get to know better and suggest you meet up at the event.
- Stop typing and start talking!