Social media changed my networking and job search

There are many people and organizations out there that preach about etiquette and need to incorporate social media into your job search. I knew that, but I didn’t understand how until I had been really tweeting for about four months, had attended a few events that I heard about online and begun following people that really interested me. I only chose to dive in because I was still a new face in a big city. Moving from Nome, Alaska to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN was quite a transition. I needed to get moving on my networking efforts because whatever I was doing, wasn’t working.

Currently, I blog for SocialMediaMarketing.com. I found this gig on Twitter- same thing with BridePOP.com. They tweeted about how they were looking for people to blog on certain topics, I direct messaged them, followed-up, gave them a link to my blog to use as a writing sample and the rest is history. Now I have my first post up on BridePop and I have written one post every week since mid-December for SocialMediaMarketing.com.

How is this different compared to my last freelance/writing gig search? A conversation happened. I responded – on Twitter – that I was interested. For me, it was similar to talking with a group of people and saying ‘I’m interested in ______ position. Can you tell me a little more on what you are looking for?’ I used my experience from job fairs and interviews and brought it online. It was like a preliminary round. They checked me out online and we moved forward. Fantastic.

Those things would have not happened if I hadn’t been participating in the conversation!

Here are also some ways I expanded my networking circle:

1. My past blogs: In college and in my time in Alaska I blogged on culture and technology as well as my western Alaskan experinces. I was able to use a passion and personal project for a freelance¬†opportunity. Don’t be ashamed to talk about past writing work. It’s a great way to show how far you’ve come and your willingness to grow and learn.

2. Followed the people around me and the ones I respected. When I started becoming more involved on sites like Twitter and Brazen Careerists, I realized how small my current community really was. So, I started seeking people and organizations out. I would go to a company or personal site of a person I respected or admired and would search for the ‘Follow Me’ button. If they didn’t have a Twitter option, I went with the RSS feed. I figured I keep track of their projects one way or another.

3. Searched locally. I was hungry for interaction and to see if people from online actually meet in real life (IRL). They do. Oh, and it usually rocks. I’m now part of Young Professional Communicators – Twin Cites and I’ve been expanding my network, finding great leads and meeting some passionate young professionals.

4. Commented on blogs. Now, this seems really clear, but it’s awesome how conversations can start online. Look for blogs and topics that interest you. Don’t fake it because you won’t make it. People can see through that after a while. Really take some time and search for things ¬†you care about, find interesting or even want to learn more about.

5. Learned about 3rd party apps. Now, Twitter as a site isn’t… well… I’m not a fan. So, when people started recommending apps like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite I scoped them out. Let me tell you, it changed my user expereince. As soon as I knew what I was doing on the site, I switched to Tweetdeck and fell in love with the social networking site. How did this expand my networking circle? It made following chats like #U30pro and #jobhuntchat easier. I was able to really participate or watch the conversation as it happened. From there I could see more people I wanted to follow and when it came down to it, there were people in my area that I wanted to chat with!

Overall it’s about trying new things and not being scared about putting yourself out there. Wait, that sounds like something that people have said for ages. Well I guess some things don’t change.

What have you done differently for your job search or networking efforts? Have you moved to a new town, region, state and had to redo everything all over again?

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