It’s no secret that most managers would rather hire from their networks than sort through strangers who reply to a want ad. Accordingly, candidates today direct much of their job-hunting effort to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to reconnect with any and all contacts who might pass along a promising lead.
Social media can prove remarkably effective for staying in touch with colleagues. But the ease of connecting online is no excuse to neglect the real-life relationships that often have the greatest consequence in shaping a career.
Face time trumps Facebook:
It takes seconds to ask for or accept a social media invite. Inviting someone to coffee or offering to buy lunch, on the other hand, involves a degree of gumption and effort that shows you are really serious about your professional relationship with that person and your industry. The same goes for approaching someone at a conference, mentoring, introducing yourself in a social setting or volunteering to help with leadership tasks within a professional organization. Face-to-face meetings and the conversations that result create associations outside the parameters of what’s usually discussed on social media, and someone’s real-life presence will always stick in a person’s mind more prominently than an online profile.
Don’t just look up:
Colleagues at or below your level of responsibility can sometimes prove just as valuable as the executives whom everyone in the building wants to know on a first-name basis. People at the department level know that department’s needs. They know who’s coming and who’s leaving and what the budget looks like for next year. Forming relationships with coworkers or potential coworkers through shared interests can create insight into the precise personnel needs of a company at a given moment. Such relationships needn’t be strictly professional, either. Join the company bowling league. Have margaritas after work. Look for coworkers at your kids’ sporting events and activities. Recreation and friendship can often lead to lasting, meaningful professional connections.
Don’t just talk about the job:
As former Silicon Valley recruiter and author Nick Corcodilos advises mid-career job seekers: Keep your focus on the needs of the person you’re meeting with. Offer to sit down with a manager at a company you’re interested in and talk about his or her challenges in areas where you have expertise. Offer advice and critical discussion to help that company run better, and do it outside the context of a formal job interview. If you can prove valuable to an organization before you’re even employed there, you’ll likely find yourself on the short list of candidates when a job opens up later.
Regardless of your current place on the career ladder, the value of a professional network comes not only from the number of people within it, but also from the quality of those relationships.
For more than 25 years, Christopher Frederick has helped executives and companies in real estate build relationships and place the best talent in some of the industry’s leading roles. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our extensive digital network of professionals, contact Chris Hingle at firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-EXU-FIRM. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.