Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who do you know?

In my seemingly never ending search for a job, I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s who you know, not what you know” myriad times. Now, I just moved to the Lansing-area a few months ago, so I don’t know too many people here per se, but I do know some and a handful is all you need. These days it’s not so much “who you know” but how you use “who you know.” Lately there haven’t been a lot of job postings that I’m qualified for or interested in so on days like that, I network and use my connections.

How have I used my connections? I’ve distributed my resume to a few people in the community and have a few informational interviews coming up with some area lawyers. The informational interview is key, particularly in this economy. Job seekers can use informational interviews to find out about a particular industry or employer. Although you can find much of the same information with some careful research on the web or a brief perusal of the company brochure, the informational interview allows the job seeker to make a personal connection with someone in the industry. Because it’s a less formal setting than a job interview, the informational interview lets the job seeker ask questions about everything from day-to-day business to questions about salary and benefits (which may be awkward to ask during a first formal job interview).

Although the purpose of the interview is to gather information, make sure you know some of the basics, like who you’ll be talking to, how to pronounce his or her name, and what title s/he holds. You should still regard the informational interviews as business opportunities and dress accordingly. Conduct yourself in a professional manner. After all, this could lead to a job interview with the same employer or with another employer in the same industry.

In addition to the informational interview, I’ve also begun using any and all new media connections I can make. Use the internet to your advantage. Sure, I’ve just moved to the area, but I’m still in touch with my friends back in Chicago, NY, NJ, Boston, etc. Although they don’t live in Michigan, they may know people who do, or they know people who know people who live in Michigan. So, I cyber network and try to keep my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages updated. Because I have this blog, I scour the net daily for jobs to apply for and write about and look for articles on other sites that point to jobs that I can apply to and write about.

That said, check out the following articles on cyber networking and using the internet to your advantage in your job search:

Here's an article about the five web resources to use in your job search.

Sure you've got a LinkedIn account, but are you using it the right way? Check out this article to make sure you're not making any of the seven mistakes Louise Fletcher writes about.

Another article singing the praises of using Twitter in the job search.

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