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What is the best way to use social networking to find your next career opportunity? If you answered, "to develop new contacts and promote my reputation" so I can be discovered online via a search and then invited to participate in exciting projects, you are correct!
Having a profile and a rolodex on Linked In is just the beginning. What you need are trusting relationships to generate new job leads by attracting positive attention. Social media shows what you do, how you think, and who you know and knows you. It provides a non-stop, up-to-date resume demonstrating your skills and abilities. It is the new streaming resume, a dynamic ever changing, growing C.V.
LinkedIn, Facebook. Twitter, the blogosphere, discussion within groups, comment areas and other social media platforms are a virtual networking event that goes on 24/7/365 across time zones and geographic boundaries. Do not restrict your connections to only in person, email or telephone relationships. Expand your visibility beyond where you are able to travel and how much time you have to devote to attending events. Instead, use social media to reach everyone and anyone that needs to know you. You chose who you want to meet by who needs to know you and can open doors for you. Make contact vis social media, drawing their interest to you through publishing your ideas and work online. Once you connect, follow up politely and persistently. Build stronger relationships and cultivate more targeted interest that will generate leads to new challenges, personal and professional mentoring, more referrals and access to inside information to put you on the fast track ahead of your competition.
Focus your social networking efforts as you would any targeted campaign designed to increase your visibility and establish specific contacts. Publish where your expertise will be appreciated. Participate in groups (after vetting the membership) where you can demonstrate your leadership. Present information that shows your command of the subject matter. Be a connector; introduce individuals that share common interests. Just be an outstanding networker in a virtual world you define based on LI and groups, LI answers, blogging, Twitter conversations and follows, Facebook events, book reviews, posting your profile to be more searchable, etc.