There’s a lot of talk these days about using social networks as job search tools as well as sources for recruiters and HR executives to scout talent. Many organizations opt to build secure, private networks for their current and former employees that provide a place for people to connect and refer opportunities, contacts and information to one another. Here are some tips to get the most out of these increasingly common company networks.
1. Remember Your Resources
While it may be natural to dive into the wider web in your job search, you might be better served to take advantage of resources and people you are already connected to. Many businesses of all sizes offer networks to connect current and former employees. Check in with HR heads of former employers and find out what networking tools they offer. In the battle for great talent, it’s in their interest to keep up with you and where your career is headed.
2. Present Your Best Self
When building your identity and reputation on a company network, it’s important to remember that these networks are professional environments that are rarely anonymous. While you may have shared some drinks at the holiday party in 2007, you still want to engage with current and former colleagues on a strictly professional basis. Remember to update your information (title, company, leadership experience, etc.) regularly, perhaps every quarter, and point it out to relevant people as appropriate.
Also note that while you’re maintaining a professional presence on internal company networks, your public social profiles on Facebook (), Twitter () and other sites will often be checked by recruiters before they make contact with you. We’ve all heard the horror stories — for example, applicants updating their status or tweeting before and after an interview with disparaging or confidential remarks about the company. We’ve heard about recent college grads who have thousands of photos on Facebook, many of which are not work appropriate. These are lessons applicants need only learn once. Showing some personality is important, but it’s a fine line.
People are used to getting “Friended,” “Followed,” “Connected With” and more on a regular basis, so reaching out to past colleagues with whom you’ve worked should be well received. It’s a great way to share opportunities, personal and professional news, and stay up to date on happenings at your company. When you join a company network, spend some time identifying colleagues and friends within the organizations and acknowledge them on the network.
The foundation of many workplace relationships is gained in the first few days working together. A vendor my company works with recently had an influx of new hires due to business growth. The new team they assembled is full of characters and they promote camaraderie as an essential piece of their corporate culture. These employees are not just all Facebook friends but they’re neighbors, they Follow each other on Twitter, retweet each other, etc. They are connected personally and online in a way we know will continue even if one of them should make a career move.
4. Show Your Self-Motivation
As everyone knows, finding a job is work in itself. If you want to get advice from a former colleague or talk about business connections or job opportunities, you have to reach out. (Re)connect online and then consider setting up a get-together with former colleagues. Being outgoing and organized is a quick way to get recognized — a factor that’s sure to pay off in the future.
In-person meetings always go farther than a phone call ever could. For HR managers who work at large, global businesses, it’s nearly impossible to meet candidates face to face. But if you’re an executive and someone local is asking to meet up, it’s a great activity to make time for. I recently heard about a young job seeker who wanted to relocate and found out the local director at her dream firm had gone to a competing high school. That connection alone (pointed out in an e-mail she sent him when she happened to be in town) got her in the door and ultimately, the job itself.
5. It Can’t Hurt to Ask
Given the professional nature of company networks, it’s more common and expected for the topic of job openings and hiring to come up. Don’t be afraid to ask your connections how they got their newest job, why they left a company, or if they would be willing to make an introduction for you. Understand that these networks create mutual relationships, so be sure to offer connections, guidance and thoughts to others — engendering good will when it comes to a professional network goes a long way.
A woman my company works with has had previous high profile jobs in her field. As a result, many people know her and ask her for favors. The one she tells us she always obliges is giving honest answers to people who are considering going to work for her previous companies. Often these connections come through people she may need a favor from someday too, so it’s a valuable practice to help past companies find great talent, even though she’s already left.
Original Mashable Article
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