12 online networking tips for job seekers
TODAY, career networking sites are not just a meeting ground for people but also an effective platform to gather and exchange information about brands and products. It is very important that one begins networking the right way to build relationships.
1. Get started by creating a profile on a professional network, and build your online presence, to reach out to wider audiences. Start by crafting a professional headline.
For example: "Economics graduate seeking a research analyst position."
2. Make sure that your profile is well-written, informative and you are focused in terms of your expectations.
3. Your profile picture is your online identity for people who contact you. Find a welcoming (decent) photo to increase your visibility. Not putting a profile picture could depict a lack of confidence.
4. It is also very strongly recommended not to put up photographs or one-liners that will jeopardise one's image, as character judgment begins from the point your profile is viewed. Example: "What's Up?" Or "Hey am looking for a cool job in ABC sector?" This is specially recommended for active job seekers like college students, unemployed/part-time working professionals.
5. Always highlight your strengths and credentials. Include words that best describe your talents and achievements. Be very specific about the word usage as these words when searched for are the first link between you and someone that might be a prospective employer.
6. Never send a blank request; it displays partial interest. When adding new connection, always send a brief message addressing the contact, or it could include your business card. e.g.: Hello Sir, I saw your profile and I'm interested in ABC field, do add me and enlighten.
7. Introduce your company: Describing your firm makes you an ambassador of the company. Import all your contacts from Outlook, Gmail, Orkut etc, so that you can start building your network or grow the existing network. The more people one is connected to the better because one will be able to reach out to other people in the network through all these connections.
8. One can also search for specific people at specific organisations to look for connections. One can also track down former colleagues, vendors, clients and others that can be of help in the job search through a search engine.
9. It is also equally important to solicit recommendations. Reach out to former supervisors, colleagues, vendors or friends. Soliciting recommendations ensures a good chance of being picked by potential clients and employers. Since letters of recommendations come from a third party, it enhances your credibility.
10. Enrich your profile with your interactive content: Write a blog or a community, share presentations. These are great ways to network amongst your peers, and demonstrate your knowledge on a particular topic to connect with others who share your interest.
11. Engage with groups, read posts, comment if you have something interesting to say, post your own questions or topics and connect with members of the group where there might be mutual benefit. This is about learning how things work and joining in.
12. Last but not he least, it is important to the profile on a regular basis, even if you are not looking for a change in job.
Professional networking sites:
Yogesh Bansal is CEO of Apnacircle.com, an online social networking forum focused on India.
Photographs: Rediff Archives