I’ve had about ten serious jobs in the real world over the last thirty years (ouch), and I found most of them through people I knew. There has usually been a connection to somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody, and that way of the world has always been bad news for job seekers who didn’t know anybody to help them with an introduction.
Social media re-engineered the practice of networking. I’ve been working it hard for four years — designing and redesigning my SM strategy for personal, business, politics, writing, real estate — all the disparate aspects of my life. I use two Facebook profiles to hang out with people I know well and people I don’t know well. I have a FB page that autofeeds my Twitter account, which I use exclusively for politics, and another new one devoted purely to disseminating the truth about the President’s accomplishments. Finally, I have FB pages devoted just to real estate and food. I am thoroughly compartmentalized in the hope that I don’t bore my friends too much with stuff they’re not interested in. But note, none of that is strictly about business.
I use LinkedIn exclusively for staying in touch with people who might help me find my next job, and vice versa. After initially amassing over a thousand connections, I realized that I wasn’t getting news from the people I needed to connect with professionally, so I purged the list of friends, family, neighbors, vendors, and several hundred real estate agents (sorry, guys — too many irrelevant listings clogging my feed), and landed at around three hundred purely business-related connections. I scrubbed my profile and made it searchable. I removed every ounce of controversy and/or fluff. I watched who was viewing me and noted trends. I posted job-related articles that made me look insightful. I got a good feel for which employers were using the tool to recruit. I figured out which headhunters were trolling. I tweaked (my profile) constantly.
It has finally paid off. I start my next job on Monday, and it is the first placement I’ve ever had that originated and played out entirely online. A recruiter found me on LinkedIn. I shared my background and provided recommendations through LinkedIn. I had six interviews, including one on Skype. I shared my samples using Dropbox. It was a true social media experience.
It didn’t happen by accident. I worked it. But it’s good to know that all that time spent online wasn’t for nothing.
Tell me, what’s your social media experience been when it comes to networking and job hunting? Has your strategy been successful?