We all have a network, its size just varies. Networks are created at school, in hobbies, at work, and whenever we interact with others. The more active and the more new people you meet, the wider your network will be.
The importance of the network in job search cannot be overemphasized. Thanks to social media, we all have the opportunity to grow networks across the boundaries of the circle of friends and the work community. A job seeker doesn’t have to have 500 LinkedIn contacts and 300 Twitter followers for an invitation to a job interview. However, an extensive network is beneficial, as a large proportion of jobs are acquired through networks. The larger your network, the more likely the recruiter is to know someone who knows you. It is always a safer option for an employer to hire a person they know either themselves or through their network.
Although networks are known to be useful for work, building them is often perceived as challenging. Not too many people consider networking as one of their strengths. Activity and initiative are everything in the job search. Low self-esteem should be left behind when you start to utilize networks in your job search.
Networking rules on social media
Networking face-to-face happens without paying too much attention to it. Getting to know others at work or in our free time is natural for us. Your work community and friends are always the strongest contacts, but you can also grow your network on social media.
It’s easiest to start networking on social media with people you already know. This creates a good foundation for growing a wider network step by step. When you start making contacts on social media, there are a few etiquette rules to keep in mind that prevail in different channels.
Facebook – a personal channel where you shouldn’t send a friend request to completely unknown people. Take advantage of Facebook in your job search by following interesting companies and joining job search groups.
Twitter – the most public of social media channels, the beginning of an open discussion. Twitter accounts are invariably public, so you can follow anyone or any business.
LinkedIn – a channel designed for professional networking, but its etiquette evokes conflicting opinions. Whether to send a LinkedIn invitation to a stranger is a question many users think about.
LinkedIn is a professional channel where you shouldn’t share your personal stuff – a LinkedIn invitation isn’t the same as a Facebook friend request. In general, contact requests should not be sent, but it makes sense to build networks with people working in the same field. Always tailor a LinkedIn invitation if you send it to someone you haven’t met before. Briefly explain why you want to network with him or her, so the invitation is also more likely to be accepted.
Instagram and Snapchat – are not linked to job search, but you should also take advantage of these channels whenever possible. Once a person has shared their Instagram or Snapchat nickname publicly on Twitter, for example, you can follow them on these channels as well. Deepening the relationship on these less formal channels are a great way to differentiate as a job seeker. Interactivity on Snapchat ensures that you’re sure to be remembered better than being one of the 500 LinkedIn contacts.
Take care of your network
Valuable things need to be taken good care of and this is also true when it comes to networks. Social media is an excellent tool for maintaining and strengthening networks. You don’t always have the chance to go out on lunch with former colleagues but on social media, you can share ideas at any time. Interactivity and helping others is an advantage for both you and your network members. Commenting on a question on LinkedIn may seem like a small thing to you, but can mean a lot to the questioner. Don’t always expect others to take the initiative but be an active party yourself. The more you interact with others, the stronger the bond will be.
Career advice and tips to help the everyday job seeker. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @CareerReload