Social Media & Old School Networking

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Had a typical conversation with a woman who is unemployed. Depressed. Anxious. She complained about the horrible hiring process within corporate America.

And of course I have a ton of empathy. It’s tough to disagree. I’ve written about the candidate experience quite extensively.

We started talking about the specifics of her job search, which consist of

  • connecting with people on LinkedIn,
  • sending resumes,
  • posting for jobs on job boards and career websites,
  • and never hearing back from the HR department.

Can’t disagree that her experience sucks. Welcome to looking for a job in 2010 where there are more candidates than opportunities. As I’ve been saying for ages, you are competing against the unemployed, the underemployed, and those who are generally pissed off.

It’s depressing.

When I suggested that maybe she’s doing it wrong — and that maybe a little time away from the computer might help her job search — she was offended because all the experts tell you that you have to be active on social media websites to get a job and the last job I got was through CareerBuilder and that’s how people get hired in my industry.

Schwoo. Okay.

If that’s what you think, have fun with your late nights at the computer and your Vitamin D deficiency because you are not going back to work.

While you might get a job from Twitter, you’re more likely to find a job by being active in the world and seeking out new opportunities.

Is it a virtual world? Yes. Are you Tron? No.

If you work in an industry where there are offices and cubicles, you need to go find the people who work in those offices and cubicles and interact with them.

Some ways to start thinking about a new version of your job search.

  • Do you have a list of target companies? No? Go make that list.
  • What charitable organizations do those companies support? Go volunteer there.
  • Where do those executives send their kids to school? Go apply for a job at that school.
  • Where do the employees worship? Get involved in that religious institution.
  • What vendors does your target company use? Go apply there.

This whole exercise is meant for you to network, connect with someone in real life, and find a champion who can advocate on your behalf.

Social media offers the tools and resources to learn about opportunities, but real people make real hiring decisions. In a world of new media, the old school ways of networking still apply.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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