Imagine a world where your complete understanding of interacting with people was turned on its head. A world without Twitter, LinkedIn or FaceBook. This world wouldn’t have online “social media” sites as you know them today and would not allow you to interact using short message bursts or text messages. How would you survive? How would you manage? How would you go about identifying company contacts and leads?
Ok. You can open your eyes now, take a deep breath and exhale. This is not some crazy nightmare I’m asking you to relive (although some of your hearts probably skipped a beat). This was our reality back in the old days before we all became fans of:
- LinkedIn: founded in 2002
- Twitter & FaceBook: founded in 2007 or so.
Here’s another news flash for you — people actually knew how to network pre-tweet. They actually spoke to people on the phone and gathered company information including contact names. They used the Yellow Pages and 411 operators on the phone to get company phone numbers. There was even a printed copy of the White Pages that had phone numbers for people (imagine that!).
This is all fine and dandy but what’s the point of the history lesson? You should care about this quick trip down memory lane because in order for you to be successful in your job search, you need to utilize the same basic principles. It is not good enough to have 5000 first level contacts on LinkedIn and a network of 150,000,000 if they don’t know you well enough to refer you for a job lead. It doesn’t matter if you have 25,000 followers on Twitter, if they don’t read your tweets, RT or think you’re interesting enough to pass you on to a friend. FaceBook is basically an empty book if you don’t parlay that into business or job leads. You have to figure a way to make these contacts worth something, turning these “friends” into your personal marketing support team. In order to do this, you have to identify those you think will have the biggest impact on your career. You have to strengthen the relationship beyond the connection, friend and follower online - initiate a real conversation, pick up the phone. Help them know you better, get to know them and discover how you can mutually help each other further your careers.
What was that? You’re not sure how to find a phone number? Go back to 2002 and pick up a phone book if you have to. Remember this is not a popularity contest (for the record I did win best dressed in junior high and high school and have the picture wearing a Members Only shirt and pleather pants to prove it) and you can’t be concerned with interrupting or taking up someones time. You are responsible for your career and you need to pull out all the stops to find that job. If you have 5000 followers and nobody wants to help you find a job, give them a reason to change their minds.