How to Optimize Your Job Search Part 1 – New Networking

Delayed shutter image of traffic on a busy highway
(Photo:  Sprengben)

I realize using social media to meet people is hardly new, but it’s new in comparison to the approaches outlined here. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. add a layer of personal interaction to the application process, and can produce introductions and leads.

Let me begin by digressing (wait, what?).  Let’s start with the term “Networking.”  I’ve been reading more and more about how networking is bad and doesn’t work.  To say that it categorically doesn’t work is a tad myopic.  Here’s why:  networking is not some monolithic or singular “thing” that uses the same tactics and levers every time it’s used.

Networking is so multifaceted now, that to make a blanket statement endorsing or condemning it shows that you aren’t seeing the big picture.  Twitter is different from informational interviews, which are different from cocktail parties, which are different from LinkedIn, which is different from… you get it.  [Inflammatory statement warning] So to say networking is entirely bad is like saying an entire race of people is bad.  The individuals who make up the race are far too varied to slap one label on them.

OK, back to New Networking

New Networking can be a great way to A) identify leads or target relationships [who’s active, who’s leading the conversations in your field, who’s a decision maker] B) research said leads C) engage said leads. Take LinkedIn – build up a solid professional network on LinkedIn, browse through your contacts’ contacts, and start compiling a list of people you’d like to meet.  From here, start asking those in your network for introductions to prospects.  Ask them out for coffee, and begin setting up informational interviews.

Is this like stalking Facebook for your friends’ hot friends and then asking them to hook you up?  Um, yes.  But it’s better than speed dating (or trolling for business cards at a convention) because it will result in extended conversations and most likely an expanded relationship circle.

Here’s a great post about new-school networking from Penelope Trunk.

[added 8-27-2010] Here’s an article from about networking.  It’s mainly geared toward salespeople, but the tactics outlined are ideal for job hunters.  If you’re looking fo

[added 01-07-2011] This is a somewhat dated video, especially given Delicious’ somewhat uncertain fate, but it is the best example I’ve seen on how to use new networking and stalking.

Have you had success (or failures) with using social media to find or prospect for a job?  Let us know in the comments!

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Tim Murphy is the founder of - the first free web app to help you track school and job applications.

  • Michael Clark

    Nice post! More & more employers are turning to social networks to check the background of applicants. This can be a drawback to some and a plus for others. Personally, I haven’t really been strongly involved with social networking sites, especially when adding my pics. So employers really can’t find too much about me online.

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