So let’s say you have looked at all the possible ways to connect with people who can potentially help you with your job search: Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and more. How can you best use these tools to help you get to a new job?
Realize that connections are only the roots of potential relationships that take time to grow. Merely adding huge numbers of names to your contacts universe by no means guarantees fruitful results in the job search. Here are some helpful guidelines that will let you make best use of this tool:
Creatively build your base-line contacts: Take time initially to compile a universe of past work colleagues, friends, clients, suppliers and classmates. Be creative in seeking out various past fields or organizations where you have traction. Often adding a personal note to the standard “invite” tab may yield better results.
Think of the sites as primarily research sources: If you are interested in a particular organization and want to network in, let these databases tell you who is working where and in what capacity. Or let’s say you are relocating to a new city; this can help you identify firms you may want to consider in your target industries. At this point, you are not asking for connections but merely seeing who is connected to your connections.
Make the entrée easy for your introducer: Think through exactly what type of help you are seeking of this mutual connection. Is it general information about their field and/or firm? Or are you perhaps seeking possible contract consulting assignments? Construct a short and simple email to your introducer that will make it easy for him or her to write on your behalf. You might mention briefly what you are currently doing. Do not though rehash your work history because that will already be on your personal page which the referred individual can easily access and review.
Make a live connection with your new contact as soon as possible: Assuming you are given the “green-light,” write a similarly brief email of introduction stating your wishes. Ask permission to exchange regular emails so you can set up a time to talk live on the phone. Ideally, this will then lead to a face-to-face meeting. Your goal is to get out of “cyberspace” as soon as possible and connect via voice and visual quickly. This muti-sensory experience is what begins to build relationships. People don’t hire people they only read about no matter how stellar their qualifications; so work hard to connect on the personal level. It may take longer with these steps but will be worth the effort in the long run and will reap stronger and more fruitful, enduring relationships.