How To Leverage Your Network When Looking For A New Career

So you’re looking for a new position.  What is your game plan?  Where do you start?  Do you know?

Time to go and post my resume.  Wait!  You’re going to what?leverage

Take a second and think for a moment.  Have you thought about your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other site?  No.  Well this should be your starting point.

To be more specific, LinkedIn is probably your best place to go first.  Regardless of your perceived safety in your current position, you should update your online profile/resume 3-4 times a year.  Why, to let people know what you are doing.  Why is this important?  Networking.  You never know when you will connect with someone that you maybe able to help… or that might help you.

Facebook is a great next step.  Here you can network with friends and family; those people that tend to have a personal interest in helping you in your search.  You may need to follow up with them and make sure they are thinking of you but a good place to build from.

Twitter is great to connect with your followers and let them know your skills and what you are looking for. (but you network really well so your followers already know what you do!)

Sure, along the way you might check out the job boards and see what is out there because that is only human.  Did you know that the majority of jobs are not posted externally?  This is why networking and referrals become so vital in your search.

Work with your social network to let them know more about you, professionally speaking, so that you are in their mind at any given moment.  Also, get to know your network better.  You never know when you both might be able to assist each other.

Advertisements

Make A 5 Year Plan

One of the most used interview questions seems to be “where to see yourself in 5 years?”  There is a lot of psychology behind that question in terms of what a particular interviewer may want to hear but it really brings up a bigger question: do you know what you want to be doing in 5 years?calendar

Seriously, this is a great question.  The reason it is so great is that what you are doing right now has an impact on what you maybe doing.  I know a lot of us can’t see beyond this coming weekend but it truly is important to think about.

Goals keep us motivated.  Why?  It all comes back to personal branding.  How others perceive you directly impacts your career.

  • Do you want to make a career change?  Begin to network (through any number of social networking channels) with individuals in that profession and find out how they got started.  Then begin putting an action plan in line with calendar deadlines to keep you focused.
  • Do you want a promotion (or two)?  Begin by interviewing your manager, your manager’s peers, or your manager’s manager to see how they achieved those levels and what they may recommend for you to consider to begin preparing for that level.
  • Do you want to start your own company?  Think about a field where you can add value and begin to create a network that will help support your goals.  Don’t let them know immediately what you are doing but start to build those relationships now.

Everyone talks about setting up a plan.  Plans are easy and are typically altered over time for one reason or another.  Executing the plan is where the payoff comes.  Begin to set yourself up now for further success in the next 5 years.

Me 2.0 – my review and thoughts

While on vacation I took the opportunity to read Dan Schwabel’s book, Me 2.0 and it left me with a really positive feeling and outlook.  Dan provides the reader with some great insight into personal branding through social media and social networking.

Although this book is geared towards Dan’s expertise of Generation-Y, or Millennials, other generations (like me a Generation-X guy) can pick some good insight out as well.

Below are a couple to areas I really enjoyed in the book, I am only highlighting a few as I don’t want this to be an essay!

Excellent points:

  • Social networking – excellent overview to numerous sites, why it is important to manage your brand and how best to effectively manage.
  • Security – great points on internet security and how to try to reduce your risk of being affected.
  • Social media – setting up your own web site, blogs, how to interact with others effectively to further push your message and brand into the market.
  • Passion – be passionate about you because that is really what it is all about!

Points I tend to disagree with (from an HR perspective):

  • Cover letter – most recruiters today tend to bypass the cover letter and head straight to the meat of the resume.  If you are contacting a recruiter directly via email then use the email body as your cover letter.  Also, highlight why the company will benefit from hiring you.
  • Résumé – Dan recommends including a lot on your resume and I have the opposite approach and recommendation.  Sure, your resume is the tool to get in the door but don’t oversell so that there isn’t much to add in a resume.  A resume is a sales tool to get in the door to sell your brand.

I firmly believe this is a great read and an excellent resource for anyone of any generation considering their personal brand.  Again, this book is geared towards Gen-Y / Millennials but anyone should be able to pick and choose the ideas that work best for their own personal goals.  The value of this book for anyone wanting to consider their personal brand is priceless and, yes, some information maybe review but there are plenty of new ideas to consider.

Worse case scenario, this is a topic that will stay in your mind in a very competitive world (regardless of your industry) and you will continue to refresh your mind and maybe even encounter some new ideas along the way.