Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 14 2013

Job Seekers: The Internet Matters Less Than You Think

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

internetIf you’re looking for a job, chances are you’ve updated your social media profiles to make sure your on-screen introduction will entice potential employers. While LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can all play important roles in your search, a new survey from talent and career management company Right Management reinforces a certain rallying cry for the meetings industry: there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact.

Here’s a look at the breakdown of how more than 500 US and Canadian respondents indicate that they will find their next position:

  • 50 percent - networking
  • 22 percent - job boards
  • 19 percent - agency/recruiter
  • 8 percent - direct approach
  • 1 percent - newspaper/periodical

While Monika Morrow, senior vice president, career management, Right Management, points out that job searches now often begin behind the glow of a laptop or PC, she highlights that successful job seeking still relies on shaking hands, exchanging business cards and creating a true personal connection.

“It turns out that face-to-face contact is how more than half of our candidates find new employment based on firm data for the past five years,” Morrow says.

But how do you establish that face-to-face contact? Here are four key points to remember as you try to put networking to work in your quest for a more rewarding position.

1) Be Confident

Finding a job is about who you know - - so how do you expand that address book? As you look for opportunities to make new connections, “shy” should not be in your vocabulary. Thinking of reaching out to that old colleague you haven’t spoken with in five years? Do it. While the initial request to connect over coffee or cocktails may feel a bit awkward, chances are that he or she has been in your shoes, too.

2) Be Persistent (But Not Annoying)

Feeling down because no one is getting back to you? Don’t automatically write these off as lost opportunities. Whoever you’re trying to reach has a long list of priorities, and helping you get a job probably isn’t at the top. Follow up with another email or a live phone call after another week passes. Check in occasionally to see how your contacts are doing. Offer a brief update on your job search and ask if there is an opportunity to connect in-person.

3) Be Relationship-Focused

If you’re really desperate for a new job, it can be tempting to focus on what you have done, what you want and how you can benefit an organization. When you’re networking, put that mindset in the rearview. You should be aiming to make new friends, start compelling conversations and ultimately, build relationships that will last well beyond your job search.

4) Be A Member

If you needed any support for the value of joining a professional association, these survey results should do it. From participating at the local chapter level to attending big national face-to-face meetings to browsing the organization’s member directory, being part of a collective is one of the easiest ways to create casual connections. Sure, your membership might cost a few hundred dollars, but if that fee lands you a new job, you’ve more than covered your investment.

Looking for more advice on how to be a better networker? Click here to learn how to look like an expert in the eyes of your professional contacts.

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