Six Degrees of Separation from Your Next Job

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I heard an interesting statistic on a recent newscast – the average job seeker networks with 60 people during their search.  That number could be overwhelming if you attempted to find and network with 60 individual people. Most people naturally begin with friends, and colleagues. If you are lucky, this may get you to 10 people.

Many working professionals do not spend time maintaining a current database of contacts or cultivating relationships outside of their immediate professional and personal circles. Their hours are filled with doing their job and networking is often limited to a few must attend professional events.

But what if you lost your job? How quickly could you connect with 60 people?

One of the things I love most about social networking is the ability to efficiently connect with large groups of people in short periods of time. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can all be highly effective tools in your ongoing networking.

LinkedIn is one of the platforms that I recommend to all professionals. It lends itself well to all types of networkers. Yet is often overlooked or under utilized by job seekers. Many make the mistake of being “on” LinkedIn but fail to make use of its many tools. If you have set up an account, connected with 20 or so people, and done nothing more you are missing the many benefits of the platform.

Here are just a few ways to use this tool in your job search:

  1. Research targeted companies and uncover connections. Don’t have a first degree connection, ask for an introduction.
  2. Review and apply for jobs posted exclusively on LinkedIn
  3. Use your LinkedIn profile to gain attention from targeted employers. A targeted profile with keywords and skills will help you get found in search results.
  4. Join and participate in relevant discussion groups.
  5. Ask a question using LinkedIn Answers that will invite discussion from your targeted industry.
  6. Use slideshare to share a short presentation of a project, volunteer effort, or solution to a current business issue.
  7. Have you read a book that changed your perspective? Share it using the Amazon utility. Part of networking is the small talk on neutral topics that enables us to get to know one another. This is one tool that can help in those efforts.
  8. Write recommendations. Networking is a two-way street. Take time to write recommendations for former colleagues and bosses. Lend a helping hand to those in your network and your efforts will come back to you.
  9. Create a VisualCV and ink it to your profile. This makes it much easier for recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about you than what is provided in your profile.
  10. Update your status. Status updates are real time updates seen by everyone in your network. Believe it or not people do pay attention to these; use them wisely.

These are just a few of the ways in which you can use LinkedIn. For an in depth look, I higly recommend Jason Alba’s book, I’m on LinkedIn–Now What??? (Second Edition): A Guide to Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn. When I first read the book I was an experiend and fervent user but still found great tips that helped me to get more out of my LinkedIn experience.

Are you on LinkedIn? How do you use it in your networking efforts?

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