Orville Pierson’s Blog

Not on Linked In? Read this Immediately

Right now, Linked In is an essential career management and job search tool. It is widely used by recruiters and employers, and there are signs that it could be on its way to edging out Monster and other job boards as the top job site.

I say “right now” because Internet tools evolve rapidly. The old original successes in social networking – like Friendster and MySpace – were initially seen as novelties, sites to be used only by the young and single.  Now, of course, the category has evolved to produce serious business and career management tools. This evolution will continue and accelerate, so don’t assume that Linked In will be number one forever.

Social networking sites are not only about finding your next job, they’re also about locating people who can help you advance your career. They publicize you and your expertise to a broader audience.  They can accelerate the process of your making the real-life networking connections that will advance your job search now and support your career progress when you’re employed.

Perhaps most important, these sites allow you to more effectively manage your networking connections, so that you can use your precious face-to-face time only with those connections that you already know to be the most interesting and productive. They map your networks and the networks of people you know, allowing you to more quickly locate people with knowledge of the companies on your target list.

Real networking of course is about shared interests. It goes beyond professional interests to personal interests of all kinds, so social networking sites can enrich your life as well as your career. And, of course, the two are not separate. Your golf, yoga and parenting networks can and do help you make career progress and accelerate your job search.

You may want to have a page on other social networking sites beyond Linked In. Some are designed for special purposes and niche audiences and may be even more useful for some people. It’s also an issue of which sites your current contacts are on, since it’s easier for them to Link with you or Friend you if they already have a page.

Should you also have a personal website, linked from your social networking site? If you’re in a profession where a portfolio is expected – graphic design for example – the answer is yes.  But for most managers and professionals, it’s simply not worth the time and cost, since it’s likely to get little traffic. Using existing free social networking sites is more effective and less time consuming.

And when you’re job hunting, you don’t want to spend too much time on the Internet, right? You know you’ve got to talk to people real time. Because you know that those conversations continue to be the single most productive activity for job hunters.

So it’s essential to integrate the use of Internet tools with traditional approaches. Internet tools are not a silver bullet. But when they are properly selected and used in combination with proven career transition methods, they definitely improve your effectiveness – and results.

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