While in the midst of a Recession, some people are in the market for a new job but have a difficult time gathering the resources they need to jump start their career. This is where Social Networking can be vital, since 34% of new employees hired are employee referrals, brought in from outside a company. In fact, social networking is cited as the Number #1 way to get a new job. Apparently, human resources, recruiters and employers prefer to talk to and hire an individual who's been recommended by someone that they already employ. An employee referral provides not only a great first reference but it saves employers considerable financial resources in advertising their open positions and sorting through resumes and phone calls from random candidates.
Social networking on the Internet can be a great way to begin those casual relationships that turn into wonderful business opportunities. Although the internet may not provide a face-to-face meeting with the other person, the stress of making these new connections is reduced because the "ice is broken." You can listen, or be engaged as you wish. No one can see you sweat nervously, and you don't have to feel like a wallflower because no one can see you standing off by yourself. Another bonus is recruiters are often members of social networking sites, seeking out fresh candidates for open positions. The key with Social networking is to make sure that developing business relationships through networking is done the right way. Since we can't use our body language, eye contact or voice to express ourselves, we are limited to making sure the words we use are presented properly and represent clear intentions.
Great Places to Network Online:
This is where web forums, chat rooms, mailing forums, and social networking websites come in. Many professionals use these communication mediums for networking, discussing recent developments in their occupation or industry and asking questions of each other. Anyone involved in a job search or career exploration can benefit from following these online, public discussions, learning about current trends and developments and the interests and concerns of those involved. Many of the social networking websites even offer free meet-n-greets so you can have an opportunity to mingle with other professionals.
Social Networking Websites are a little different in that they work the "six degrees of separation" concept to the extreme, using the Internet to turn who you are, who you know, and what you know into a monster-sized spider net of connectivity. These include services like No Tie Networking and LinkedIn. Some may be more casual, but others are targeted to professional linkages.
Chat Rooms and Web Forums are like the office water cooler. Conversations can be highly professional or very informal. Numerous web sites and online services like Vault.com, and AOL's People Connection offer you the opportunity to create your own virtual meeting space.
Mailing Lists are a long-standing communication forum heavily used in academic and research professions. While many now have web interfaces, they still operate via email, meaning you must have a personal email account to participate. To find mailing lists that might be relevant to your industry or profession, search the CataList maintained by L-Soft or Yahoo! Groups.