Finding the career that is best for you is not always easy. Today’s world is filled with a large variety of career opportunities- both online and offline. Ironically, many people still have trouble finding the career that is best for them.
Well here is the secret: NETWORKING
After doing some of my own research I have found that, depending on the source, 60-80% of all jobs are found through networking- “forming business connections and contacts through informal social meetings“. Traditionally, networking has been a personal interaction between two or more people that are located at the same physical location. Based on the evolution of the internet, communication between human beings is faster than it has ever been and the age of “E-Networking” has begun to unravel.
Its time to start taking advantage of that!
According to the Facebook Statistics Page, Facebook has over 800 million active users and 50% of those users log in daily. That does not include all of the other social networking and social media sites such as: Twitter,Okurt,Google Buzz, Reddit, Delicious, Foursquare, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon. All of these sites, and many others, can be used as a medium for E-Networking.
If you are looking for a professional career then both Facebook and LinkedIn will be equally as helpful to you. LinkedIn is specifically deigned for businesses and for professionals so you know everyone else has subscribed for the same purpose: To E-Network. Facebook has the advantage of sheer numbers, high activity levels and an immense amount of daily interaction.
E-Networking doesn’t mean you need to join every social networking site and begin to message everyone inquiring about career opportunities. It means that you are, most importantly, active in at least one social networking site. If you are interested or excited about something, explore different online groups that focus on that subject. Let people know what you are interested in. If an acquaintance knows you are interested in sports writing and stumbles upon an opportunity in that area, they may notify you. If they don’t know what your interests include then they will surely never notify you of any opportunities out of the blue.
Help out your online friends and acquaintances as well. If someone is looking for the answer to a question and you know what it is- reply to their inquiry. Your presence is what is important. The more active you are, the more people will become familiar with who you are and the more mental connections, professional and causal, people will associate with you.
You don’t have to be looking for an opportunity to find an opportunity. E-Networking can be compared to traditional networking. You go to a party and find a promising new employment opportunity by introducing yourself to someone new. If you had never gone to the party you would never have given yourself the chance to discover the opportunity. If you hadn’t been breathing you would also never have discovered the opportunity- obviously. If you’re not actively using any social networking site then you’re not “breathing” in the online world- You’re not even giving yourself a chance to find the opportunity that you’re looking for. Maybe it just isn’t for you- that is okay too. Just understand that the old adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” holds true for E-Networking too.
It can be argued that E-Networking will take time away from physical networking- which can be said to be more effective because of its more personal nature. Although these arguments may be true at times, there are a couple important advantages to E-Networking:
Physically speaking, a person can only hold so many conversations at once (2 or 3 at maximum). Online, millions of people can simultaneously be part of a conversation, thread, or message board. Your message is communicated to a greater number people in less time.
If you have an online profile with your interests, affiliations and credentials listed, then your qualifications are constantly available for people to see. You may even be physically networking at the same time that your online efforts are E-Networking for you. At any given time someone may see something in your profile that they need for their business!
In traditional networking it can be difficult to find the right medium to begin your networking efforts. Online, it is as simple as typing your areas of interest into a social network search box. The amount of information available online is incredible and you can easily drill down to the specific areas that you are looking for.
The fact that E-Networking can be an effective career exploration tool does not mean you do not have to concentrate extremely hard on it all the time. Instead, concentrate on being active in the areas you’re interested in. Be conscious of the fact that you’re online actions can help you proceed professionally in the direction that you want to. If you have specific credentials, certifications and levels of education, it doesn’t hurt to display them to potential employers. Even if you are currently employed, it is going to be a lot easier to find a job if the economy finally catches up with you and you have already built up a network of online professionals and friends.
It would be great to hear from others’ experiences in and thoughts on E-Networking so comment away!
Important: If you have a publicly displayed online profile, make sure that it is appropriate for potential employers to view. It may not be a good thing to have a potential employer see you in your underwear!