21st Century Networking

If you've spent any length of time searching for a job, you likely heard you don't get a job by your resume alone, but by who you know. And who you know comes from your personal network.

But what does your network look like in today's day and age?

Whether you are right out of college or already in the work force, you likely have a strong network already. Classmates from school or current co-workers are a network you can leverage for information on job opportunities and company realities. Teachers and bosses are in your network as well for references or recommendations, feedback on your current abilities, or suggestions on where to go next in your career. College advisors are part of your network as well in that they can seek out opportunities for you, remind you of deadlines, and be a reference or advice giver as well. So already, you have a rich network of people who can help you where you are today.

But you have more... Every adult you ever met from your childhood or person you interact with day to day is a resource in your network. Neighbors, church mates, coffee shop regulars, etc.. may have that one tip you need for that next job. So be sure to always be kind and leave a good impression if you want to make it easy on yourself later. If you're right out of college, your parents or people your parents work with are great resources too [see, all those pictures Mom had on her desk or the countless brag-type stories she told about you - they could actually pay off!] You just never know.

But these are your traditional network connections. What does the internet and social media do to your network?

Your LinkedIn profile and presence on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc... have likely created a  digital network for you as well. If you think of them as an audience for your content, consider how you can turn them in to a network for future job opportunities. First, you might build up your relationships by contributing to other people's projects and posts with useful information or just some kind comments. You might offer educational tips and ideas on your own feeds that could be helpful to others working on the same things in your network. Conversely, be careful of the things you post that could hurt your professional image. To run the test "front page of the Wall Street Journal" test is always a good rule of thumb when determining what's appropriate to post.

And lastly, managing your physical network and a digital one do not have to be mutually exclusive. According to inc.com, there are creative ways to bridge your physical network with your digital one. Think about meeting some local fans of your podcast for coffee or lunch, or else ask people in your next presentation audience to join your digital network to hear more. Bridging the two networks is an important aspect of managing your professional image and on-going opportunities no matter where you go in your career.

With these thoughts in mind, what are the appropriate ways to leverage your network for those job opportunities? Look to my tweets and posts this week for useful and practical tips to answer this question and more with regards to networking.

#ChooseGreatWork #WorkHappy

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