One phenomenon that has grown rapidly since the first edition of my book is networking using social media, also referred to as Web 2.0 (web-two-point-o). While young college students and recent graduates are very familiar with Facebook, Twitter and MySpace media for social networking, more experienced professionals and business-only networkers appreciate the power of business networking tools like LinkedIn.LinkedIn has grown exponentially in recent years.
When I joined LinkedIn in 2004, I often had to explain what it was to my business peers in Xerox, Corp.; I had to show my friends and family why I found it valuable. Interestingly, many of my peers inside and outside Xerox at the time thought that networking tools like LinkedIn were a distraction. They didn’t see the value, particularly since they were comfortable in their jobs, and perceived networking as something to do only if you became unemployed. But I used it as a very effective (and free) networking research tool.
For example, if I wanted to look up the chief human resources officer (CHRO) of a specific company, I could use the Search tool in LinkedIn to find exactly that individual. Since a significant part of my job was to find and establish business relationships with thought leaders in human resources all over the nation on behalf of Xerox, I found LinkedIn to be an invaluable tool. LinkedIn cuts across geographical and organizational boundaries. Over time, I was even able to persuade many of our internal recruiters that they could search for and approach ‘passive’ candidates (those who were employed and not actively looking for work) who were leaders in their field. By approaching passive candidates, they could comb organizations for their best talent and inform them about our value proposition.
That was years ago.Today, LinkedIn is recognized as the single most often used vehicle in job search for professionals, and the most reliable and economical tool in any recruiter’s tool box.Ironically, many of the people who often ignored my invitations to join my list on LinkedIn – while they were comfortably employed – have changed their minds and are now ever so eager to invite me to their lists because they became unemployed during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. They could all have been networking while they were still employed, but many waited until they had a pink slip before they reluctantly accepted networking as a necessary part of life.
So if you are currently employed and want to meet influential people who can assist you with your career, or if you are unemployed and looking for a job, business networking tools like LinkedIn can be used to conduct searches of people in certain companies or industries. It can be used to track down persons in your work history who may hold the key to a potential opportunity for introduction or advancement.I encourage you to find out how social networking tools like LinkedIn work. LinkedIn is free for you and me. Just fill out your profile and reach out to people you know.
Nowadays, all recruiters realize its value, and some of them pay a fee to take advantage of its powerful search, job posting, and advanced networking capabilities.If you want to be ‘found’, then you have to go to where the recruiters go – LinkedIn.