Nix Networking, Start Socializing

This weekend I attended and presented at PodCamp Pittsburgh, an “UnConfrence” for all things social media. I presented on a topic that is near to my heart- socializing your way to success.

Although I was at a social media conference, I wanted to make sure my session attendees left my presentation understanding that social media is only a small part of the process.  Seem contradictory?

I believe the key to a big career is conversation.

Social media’s role is simply to START conversations.

Social Scientists such as Meredith Rothe of Oxford University say that loose connections are the most valuable in leading to career and financial success.  Why?  Because close connections (such as your family, neighbors and former co-workers) always lead back to the same place, while fewer “loose” connections will lead you down paths leading to new people and information.

So many people have told me they think social media is useless for job searching.  And for most people, it probably is.  That’s because these people are thinking about it all wrong.

The #1 Myth about searching for a job via social media

Being a part of the social media community is enough to land you a job. So not true!  Recruiters aren’t going to flock to you because you put up a LinkedIn profile, set up a Twitter account and commented on a few industry blogs. Get real.

If you want to use social media effectively to get ahead in your job search then consider the following:

  • Social Media is a way to get exposed to a lot of people. From there you must start conversations, connect with some of those people via an email or direct message, then attempt to take the relationship offline.  If you don’t take a relationship offline, it is very unlikely that it will develop into something that can help you boost your career.
  • Blogs give you something to talk about in offline conversations. Read blogs in order to stay on top of industry trends; identify power players, competitors and rising stars and understand your prospects so that you have more common ground with people you start a conversation with.
  • Use Twitter strategically. Hang out where your “prospects” are hanging out. Use Listorious to connect with people in your field or who work at the companies you want to work at.  Use to find out what people are talking about right now.  Then jump in on the conversation.
  • Meet mentors, potential employers and community influencers online.  Then take it offline.
  • Create a personal board of directors from the people you meet online. Everyone company has one, why don’t you? There should be a variety of people on this board.  For example, the roles they play may include “cheerleader”, visionary, challenger, clarifier, coach, target market, wise elder, professional.  You choose a team that best fits your goals.
  • And lastly, stop elevator pitching. No one wants to be pitched- online or off.  Please don’t pitch people you don’t know in places you will probably never see them again (such as an elevator or a cold Twitter direct message).

So this week, start a conversation with someone new.  Meet someone for coffee.  Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  Then repeat and watch your career grow.

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.