The entire world is chanting about online social networking. Suddenly, ‘networking’ is gaining prominence in every field, including job search. Social and professional networking websites are mushrooming, the prominent ones being Face book, Orkut, twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and others.
I understand the power of networking. And almost everybody is preaching it too. However, what concerns me more is how to harness this power of networking successfully and achieve the desired results effectively. Just spending hours online, enrolling in social networking websites, making friends and joining communities would not help. It actually requires much more time, patience and tact.
The key is to do this tactfully and subtly. It is not a onetime work. You are jobless right now, you need a job, and you go online and enroll yourself in a number of social as well as professional networking websites, create a profile and start asking for any job openings. Hardly anybody is going to respond to you!
What one needs to realize is that it is ‘networking’ and networking takes time! You need to build it slowly and steadily. You cannot build a well when you’re thirsty! Similarly, you just can’t expect effective results instantly with networking websites.
So, how do you go about it? The most important point is – do not wait till the last hour to join the social networking websites! Join in this very minute. The earlier you join and the longer you have been around in the networking websites, the better. Make friends and join communities that interest you, where you can be active. Remember that it’s not just size of the network, but the level of interaction within the network that matters.
So ensure that you take part in it actively. Exchange notes, update about events which you might think may benefit the group, ask questions and help others with their queries… when you need help, these same people would be the ones providing it!
It is also very important to maintain the right balance between your social and professional communications. Social networking websites are much more than just search engines. You keep in touch with your friends, family and colleagues. You share your personal life with them. If you are not doing so and are strictly using it for your professional needs, it would not work. At the same time, if you are maintaining only social contacts and are not leveraging the networking website for your professional requirements, the entire idea is nullified. Hence, it is important to maintain a correct balance of both. The bad news is that there is no equation or formula for this. It’s all about trial and errors and your personal instincts.
Also remember that social and professional networking websites are not a substitute to the personal offline networking. You will still need to make calls, meet people personally and maintain that human touch. The edge these online networking websites gives you is that it is available 24 hours and enables you to keep in touch from anywhere. It compliments your personal networking skills.