Social Networking (Web 2.0)

The buzz about it is unbelievable. Are you wondering why? It's because using social networking can be the key to your positioning yourself as an expert in your field. By blogging or using sites like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter, you can reach hundreds or even thousands of people that you never would have had access to otherwise.

If you are in a search for more meaningful work, how can you use these sites in your job search? I must admit I have been asking myself that question quite a bit. I don't pretend to be an expert at these sites as yet but I do have three suggestions that will insure that you get off to a good start.

Is it right for you and your job search?
First take some time to see where social networking fits into your search for more meaningful work and your job search plan. Are you going to add one more networking techniques to your current mix of networking options?

It takes time to get to know the basics of the different social networking sites. You can't just dabble in social networking and expect results. It requires a time commitment. Do you have the time to consistently spend an hour or so a day investigating the various sites, reading up on the sites you are interested in and then trying one or two out?

Give to Get

You might have already noticed that in general self promotion is frowned on in social networking and the web in general. A social network provides a place for people to get to know you. The way that you do that is by giving them something of value - a tip, a quote, an idea, news etc.

What is your Strategy?

So now if after considering it you decide that social networking is for you, then you'll want to make sure you have a strategy and focus. Do the people you are targeting use social networking? Your target could be employers, employees of your target companies, or people doing the kind of meaningful work you have an interest in. How will you get your targets to find you and once they do, what do you want them to do and how will you know they have done it?

As an example I have been using Twitter to announce the publication of my newsletters. I use my newsletters to attract people interested in finding work that is more meaningful. I can see by my web statistics that more people are reading my newsletter online and signing up for it since I began to do that. Is it worth it? Since my newsletter list host
automatically notifies Twitter, I spend no extra time doing it. The additional readers are definitely worth it to me.
You must decide for yourself what your strategy is and what result you want. When choosing an action, always consider the time and/or money involved and the impact (result) you expect.

Does it fit your brand?

The third step is to remember your personal brand or image and make sure that there is nothing you do in social networking that inadvertently discredits or changes that image. This is extremely important. Ask yourself, "Does this picture or message enhance or detract from my brand?" Unless your messages are consistent with your brand and image, you will confuse or worse alienate your target.

Most of us started with these various sites because friends invited us to join them. Now may be the right time to give social networking a more serious focus. If so devote the time you need to decide if it is right for you and your market, develop a strategy, and make your messages consistent with your brand.

Take action
1. Comment on blogs - One good way to get started with blogs is to read and comment on other people's blogs. You can establish a name for yourself that way as well.

2. Put your toe in the water. A LinkedIn profile is easy to set up and worth the effort for a job hunter. Take the time to complete the profile in detail. Recruiters and hiring managers often search LinkedIn for candidates for jobs.

3. Got a list? There are many social networks besides Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. These are three that are generally accepted for business. There may be others specific to your job or industry. Do a Google search to find them.

Author's Bio: 

Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor (The Attorneys’ Coach) and a Career Changers’ Coach as well as publisher of "Parker’s Points", an email tip list and "Road to Success", an ezine. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website and receive a values assessment as a gift. This assessment will identify your top 4 values. Working from your values makes the work more meaningful and fulfilling.