The Job Search and Social Networks

I got this question from a friend in a job search, and thought I’d respond here:

I have been hearing about Twitter, Facebook, Grouply, etc. as additional social networking sites that people have joined or are participating in.  I haven’t joined in because, simply, I am not sure how well I could keep up with adding any additional groups to try and follow.  I am not doing very well with LinkedIn and MVPF (a Yahoo Group that we are both members of) already (I am reading many of the posts that are of interest, and I do read every one of your JibberJobber and LinkedIn blogs, and have kept most of them for the good insights!) and trying to stay in contact with others in other venues seems a bit overwhelming.  Any suggestions?

Yes, I have a strong opinion about this stuff.  In many of my presentations people would think I’m going to be a hip-hip-hurray cheerleader for using social tools in a job search, but I’m most interested in finding the right tool that fits into the right strategy.

Managing, learning and using job search tools should NOT become a full-time job.  They each have a purpose, or add value in certain ways … use them for what they are and then move on.

First, to address your specific questions:

>> Twitter, Facebook, Grouply, etc. as additional social networking sites that people have joined or are participating in.

Just because “people join” them, or are supposedly participating in them, doesn’t mean that’s a place you need to be.  There is a lot of hype and good marketing and buzz on many social networks, but realize you need to be where your audience and prospects are… not necessarily where the crowd supposedly gravitates to.

>> I haven’t joined in because, simply, I am not sure how well I could keep up with adding any additional groups to try and follow.

If you are able to stay on top of your email and other networking sites you know you need to be on, perhaps you are ready to add more.  But if you are currently overwhelmed I would NOT advice you to add any secondary networks to your mix of things to do/monitor.

>> trying to stay in contact with others in other venues seems a bit overwhelming

It is overwhelming – I think this is one reason why people have a hard time with networking – you don’t want to be the superficial networker, but following up is hard, and takes planned effort (see my recommendation about JibberJobber).

Next, to share my general advice:

You MUST be on LinkedIn. You don’t have to live on it, but there is a minimal strategy that you must employ (won’t take long to set up or maintain).  LinkedIn is not optional.  If you are having trouble figuring out what to do on LinkedIn check out my LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD.

I strongly encourage you to have some way to manage your professional relationships. Contacts you make during your job search will serve you well (a) after you land your job, and/or (b) in your next job search.  Why use a system that will end up in the garbage (which includes a job search spreadsheet), when you could have something more long-term for the duration of your career?  That is what JibberJobber is designed to do.

At a minimum, that’s what I’d recommend if you are serious about your job search and/or career management.  Beyond that:

A professional blog. This is the next thing I’d recommend…. it takes committment, but is amazingly powerful in so many ways (personal branding, networking, SEO, etc.).

A Twitter account, or at least some proficiency in using Twitter (even without a Twitter account).  At a minimum you should be able to find decision makers who are on Twitter (go to Twellow.com and do some searches).

A Facebook presence. You don’t have to spend any/much time there, but you should have the presence, especially as the demographics change to a more professional type of user.

Other networks? Perhaps some Yahoo Groups or Ning networks that are 100% relevant to your profession or industry AND have many members who are actively participating (so you aren’t the only one there)… but this is only if you are comfortable and getting value out of the other systems.

What do you think?  The biggest issues I see are (1) time management and (2) the shiny toy syndrome, where you run from toy to toy to toy and get no value from any of them.

Is your LinkedIn Profile any good?  Consider a LinkedIn Profile Makeover from Career Resumes!
Be Sociable, Share!