Despite hundreds of resumes covering the desks, chairs and floors of hiring managers, studies have shown that the majority of positions are still filled because of networking rather than interviewing. If you don’t know anyone in your industry, this used to mean you were locked out of the inner circle with no hope of getting in.
With the rise of social media, however, it’s become almost easy to infiltrate your field and make connections that will pay off in the future. Networking is alive and well over sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. Writing a few 140-character tweets can ensure that you have the future connections to land yourself your dream job.
But what if you’ve never used social media for networking before? How should you go about it? If you’re ready to put the network back in social networking, here are just four tips for making yourself known.
1. Clean Up Your Act
This should go without saying, but if you’re hoping to make professional contacts through your social media accounts, you can’t post offensive messages or inappropriate photos. Consider your social media accounts to be the digital equivalent of your outfit during a job interview. What respectable company is going to hire you if you wear a stained shirt? The same goes for profanity-laden tweets about slow people in the checkout line.
2. Follow the Leader
Every industry has it leaders. If they’re extremely popular on social media, you might not get a follow back, but even being on their radar can have its advantages. For example, you might be the first to know when they post a new video or publish a new book. You might meet other like-minded people during a Twitter debate on their account, and those friendships might turn into business partnerships someday. You might even offer an insightful reply to something the leader said that gets you that follow back after all.
3. Don’t Be Shallow
You aren’t going to get a recommendation from someone because you did a silent mutual follow and then never spoke to them again. If you want to make real contacts who are going to come to you with offers, announcements and news, you’ll need to make a real connection with them. Can the both of you bond over something happening in your industry? Do you both read professional blogs like Robert Bratt’s Blog? What else do you have in common?
4. Emulate the Successful
If you admire someone in your field, try to model your social media presence on theirs. If they’re very professional and authoritative, make your own updates sound the same; if they’re more friendly and approachable, the older sibling of your industry, play the role of the appreciative younger one. This chameleon-like behavior is great for making friends and influencing people. As a bonus, you’ll also be building a sterling online reputation for yourself, the importance of which is covered in point number one.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you network through social media. It’s the 21st century, and resumes are slowly phasing out as ways that hiring managers make their picks. It’s all about social media now, so hop on the bandwagon and take advantage of it while you still can. Your dream job awaits