Social Media Networking & Your Career: It’s Not Just a Fad

“The Internet?  We are not interested in it.” – Bill Gates, 1993

In 1989, we purchased our first home computer. It was around $1800 and even more if we added an item the salesman assured us we couldn’t live without… a 10 megabyte hard disk! (Yes I said 10 meg). Hubby was all for it. “It will be so much easier” he said. “You can save your documents on the hard drive.”

I couldn’t see the point. I was saving all my documents to the five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk already!

This you-beaut 10 megabyte hard drive seemed to be a no brainer for hubby, so with a cavalier attitude we handed over the extra cash as if were supremely wealthy and became co-owners of a brand new computer with monochrome monitor and a hard drive.

You may wonder why I’m telling you this story (other than to reinforce my fossil-like age) and what on earth it has to do with networking using social media. Well, it illustrates a point. New ideas and concepts aren’t always “just a fad”. Often they evolve and grow and change the world. Where would I be today if I had resolutely determined to keep that machine without a hard drive? Or if I’d never tried to use an ATM? I would have been forced to move with the times at some point, but how much learning would I have had to do to catch up? And how far behind everyone else would I have been?

That’s what reticence to embrace new ideas can do, and it’s a real problem for jobseekers who fail to adopt the concept of networking as a real and important aspect of the job search today.

“I see little commercial potential for the Internet for at least ten years.” – Bill Gates, 1994

Which brings me (as you knew it eventually would) to networking, social media and the job market. There are many people who are standing still, spurning the concept of networking and social media and dismissing it all as just a fad. Lack of foresight into what is happening around them still sees people pour over the newspaper classifieds in the weekend edition, circle jobs that appeal to them and follow the instructions given to send in a resume or call a specific number on the Monday morning. They’re miserable when no-one calls and they scratch their heads in amazement.

But things have changed.

Why? Because today, people and jobs aren’t clear cut as they used to be. Not by a long shot. Today a University graduate could have six years of management experience in a fast-food chain; she could operate an e-Bay store successfully, be a sought-after blogger, or have built a personal brand in any number of disciplines on the ‘net. A person like this needs more than the conservative, traditional approach or will never be seen for the multiskilled individual she is. Gone are the days of being a secretary for life with a narrow set of skills. Today is about adaptability, flexibility and multiple income streams and as jobseekers have embraced a range of skills and experience, the methods by which they need to get noticed have had to change too. The traditional ways will simply not work as they have in the past and this is where networking and social media has been a boon to jobseekers.

“The problem of viruses is temporary and will be solved in two years.” – John McAfee, 1988

Today it’s all about relationships; getting known, being liked, and receiving recommendations. Networking via social media using sites such as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook can provide you with unprecedented insight into companies, what they do, how good they are to work for, and can give you access to decision-makers. Far from being one of the herd of people who Lemming-like send their resumes to the email address in the advertisement, you could have found out the job specifications weeks before the job was advertised and at the very least, tweaked your resume and cover letter to show the perfect synergy between what they want, and what you’re offering.

Compaq 386 Computer (PD).jpg

The important thing about networking, whether using social media or not, is that relationships take time.

Building trust takes time.

Perhaps you’ll recall a scene from the movie “GroundHog Day” where the main character Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) having experienced the same day over-and-over again is impatient to speed up his relationship with love interest, Rita. His manic approach to building the relationship in fast-forward scares her and she backs off feeling overwhelmed and afraid. That’s what happens with networking when you approach it from the perspective that you want someone to do something for you or give you something. Just because you’re using technology to communicate, doesn’t mean relationships are established any quicker than they would be in the workplace or in your neighbourhood.

Networking via social media is no quick fix to your joblessness, but instead is a continually evolving and growing set of relationships that in time, can provide you with information you need to be more competitive, or to be found through the “brand” you have established with decision-makers.

By all means, if you feel comfortable going the traditional route such as newspapers, job boards, SEEK and more, then continue to do so but step outside your comfort zone and add the networking component as part of your tool kit. Why stand still when a new experience is waiting? A chat with friends over coffee, a call to an employer or connecting via social media, are experiences that are free, fun, and may just open up new doors for you. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re naturally shy as social media allows you to be “out there” without physically having to do so (at least for a while).

Don’t be the guy contemplating the need for a hard drive or you’ll be trying to play catch-up when the traditional way disappears forever.

Interacting with other humans isn’t just a fad. It’s LIFE.

[youtube width=”570″ height=”335″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yuf-0lv7zxM[/youtube]

I’m thrilled to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of professionals providing themed blogs on a range of job search and career issues every month. This month’s topic is networking tips and techniques.  Please visit my colleagues’ links below to learn more of this interesting subject and check Twitter #careercollective to find out more.

 

56 Comments

  1. SamL

    Social Media #Networking & Your Career by @GayleHoward http://bit.ly/aVU3Gw (via @resumeservice) #www.Twitjobsearch.com

    Reply
  2. SamL

    Social Media #Networking & Your Career by @GayleHoward http://bit.ly/aVU3Gw (via @resumeservice) #www.Twitjobsearch.com

    Reply
  3. JacPoindexter

    Social Media Networking & Your Career–>Things HAVE changed. Don't Get Left Behind: http://bit.ly/d1eeJN, via @GayleHoward #careercollective

    Reply
  4. JacPoindexter

    Social Media Networking & Your Career–>Things HAVE changed. Don't Get Left Behind: http://bit.ly/d1eeJN, via @GayleHoward #careercollective

    Reply
  5. Martin Buckland

    Great post Gayle! Accepting change and staying current is important to any career and for many it will be necessary to step outside of their comfort zone in order to do so.

    Reply
  6. Erin

    Hi Gayle,

    What a great article. I loved the references (quotes) from the folks that eventually ate their words. 😉

    You are spot on. We need to stay on top of change or we may miss out on things and opportunities. As you pointed out, social networking is extremely important to job seekers. It's not just connecting emails or collecting “friends”, it's establishing relationships. THAT is what matters and THAT is what will help job seekers find a job.

    Great article!

    Reply
  7. Sarah Cooper

    Social Media Networking & Your Career: It’s Not a Fad http://ht.ly/2hCt8 @gaylehoward “The Internet? We are not interested in it” BGates1993

    Reply
  8. Sarah Cooper

    Social Media Networking & Your Career: It’s Not a Fad http://ht.ly/2hCt8 @gaylehoward “The Internet? We are not interested in it” BGates1993

    Reply
  9. Dawn Bugni

    Gayle's #CareerCollective post. Spot on! "Social media network & your career: It's not just a fad" http://is.gd/dOBBA @GayleHoward

    Reply
  10. Dawn Bugni

    Gayle's #CareerCollective post. Spot on! "Social media network & your career: It's not just a fad" http://is.gd/dOBBA @GayleHoward

    Reply
  11. Meg Montford

    RT @DawnBugni Gayle's #CareerCollective post. "Social media network & your career: It's not just a fad" http://is.gd/dOBBA @GayleHoward

    Reply
  12. Meg Montford

    RT @DawnBugni Gayle's #CareerCollective post. "Social media network & your career: It's not just a fad" http://is.gd/dOBBA @GayleHoward

    Reply
  13. Miriam Salpeter

    Gayle – This is so true: “Today it’s all about relationships; getting known, being liked, and receiving recommendations.” I also love your thoughts about needing to be adaptable and flexible. Job seekers who embrace change will succeed in many arenas and will be sought after employees – or entrepreneurs in their own right!

    Reply
  14. Hannah Morgan

    Gayle:
    You have a super way of leading us to overcome old notions/ideas! Loved Bill Gates quotes! They really prove a point, don't knock it until you try it! I so enjoy your writing!

    Reply
  15. Debra Feldman

    Streaming #resume: terrific explanation-how all experiences contribute to a candidate's qualifications by @gaylehoward http://bit.ly/d9Yeo0

    Reply
  16. City Sylvester

    Gayle this was an interesting post. How would the founding father's of the technologies we enjoy today know what the future would bring? This post proves evidence of the available opportunities that are ever present, and our ability to miss out on world changing ideas even when they're right on the tip of our noses.

    Reply
  17. debrafeldman

    Hi Gayle- You have described what I am calling a “streaming” resume perfectly. As social media grows, I think that we are going to see this dynamic presentation, real time posts describing activities and ideas, supplanting static resumes as how we share information about our background and credentials. We already know that just stating responsibilities is meaningless and that it is necessary to demonstrate by achievements and measurable accomplishments to show prospective employers and connections what you can do- your potential value contribution. Now, you've explained how your relationships plus sharing your knowledge and abilities equal job search results!

    Reply

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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.