Virtual social networks like Facebook and Linkedin have changed the way people look for jobs forever. I think most people understand this but it is amazing how many people do not understand how to leverage and actually make us of the networks they have been working hard to build. Obviously, Linkedin and Facebook are very different networks and in my opinion should not mix but that does not mean that you cannot tap into both networks when you are searching for your next job.
Here are 6 tips to help you successfully tap into your virtual network.
1. Don’t be Shy
Sometimes reaching out to people can be a nerve racking experience whether it is in the real world or in the virtual word. The first thing you need to do is build up your confidence and give yourself a pep talk and get pumped up to propel yourself to greatness. What you will find is that people will really want to help and will do so if they can.
2. Be Real
What I mean by this is to genuine in your approach. Do not reach out under false pretenses and pretend that you are looking to rekindle an old friendship. The best approach is to state that the reason you are reaching out is to see if they could help you in your search.
3. Be Proactive
The best time to ask someone to help you in your career is when you are not looking for a job. It is good practice to stay connected with people in your network. Interact with them on Linkedin, follow them on Twitter, engage with them on Facebook. In essence take the time and steps to keep the relationship open so when you need to ask for a favor it won’t seem like a big deal.
4. Advance contacts to relationships
This is something I have been doing lately especially with my Linkedin contacts. I have been attempting to move from the contact stage to the relationship stage. As an example, when you see that a contact has a new title or moved to a new company, send them a message and congratulate them. A simple move that will make it easier to connect when you need to.
5. Use your real friends
If you have a network in the hundreds, chances are you will have maybe 10-20 real friends and the rest may be former coworkers or friends of friends. Use your established solid contacts to help you initiate a conversation with others in your network.
6. Take it offline
Sometimes the best way to tap into your virtual network is to take it offline. If you can connect with someone over coffee or an adult beverage to talk about your career, go for it! It never hurts to ask someone to lunch especially if you do not need their help immediately. When you do, I am sure they would be more than willing to help you out.