“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.
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.
- 5 Little Secrets About Networking, @Careersherpa
- Networking: Easy as 1, 2 , 3, @WorkWithIllness
- How to Take the Intimidation Out of Networking, @heathermundell
- Networking for the Shy and Introverted, @KatCareerGal
- A tale of two networkers, @DawnBugni
- Introvert or Extrovert: Tips for the Job Search No Matter Which ‘Vert’ You Are, @erinkennedycprw
- Networking for Job Candidates Who Hate Networking, @heatherhuhman
- Networking? Ugh! @resumeservice
- Network, Network, Network, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
- 3 ways to make networking fun for introverts and extroverts, @Keppie_Careers
- Grow Your Career Networking Seeds Organically, @ValueIntoWords
- Networking: It’s a Way of Life, @WalterAkana
- Social Media Networking & Your Career, @GayleHoward
- Networking for the Networking-Phobic, @JobHuntOrg