Smart Online Networking Strategies

January 12, 2011 10:00 AM | Anonymous

Smart Online Networking Strategies

When it comes to your career, you can never be too connected. In today’s economy, especially, your relationships with professional contacts can help you uncover job leads and even land a new position. And, more and more, advertising and marketing professionals are turning to online networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch with key contacts and enhance their job search.

However, the ease of connecting with others online can lead to pitfalls. Following are some suggestions to keep in mind when interacting with others on the Web:

Mind your online manners. The casual atmosphere of online networking sites doesn’t mean you should forgo all formalities. How you approach individuals through these services can have a lasting impression. If you contact someone with whom you don’t have an existing relationship, for example, it’s best to establish rapport before asking for help with a job search or professional problem.

One of the most effective approaches is to ask a mutual acquaintance to reach out to someone you want to connect with on your behalf to make the introduction. Some networking websites even have a special feature that allows users to request an introduction to someone via a shared contact.

Choose your friends wisely. Be selective about accepting solicitations from people who ask you to join their network. Potential employers may reach out to your contacts during the reference check process, and you want to make sure everyone they speak with reflects well on you. Also, you might consider keeping a strict boundary between your private and professional networks: Use privacy settings and lists to make sure information you’re sharing is only seen by those contacts you intended.

Get the skinny on yourself. Keep in mind that just one heated opinion you posted on a blog, social networking site or industry forum can come up quickly and easily in an online search. To see what a hiring manager may find out about you, conduct your own “self check” using your name on multiple search engines. If your name is common, refine the search by using your middle initial, alma mater or previous employer. If you unearth information that could hurt your professional credibility, contact the site’s owner or webmaster and ask that the content be removed. Also, if you find photos of yourself that are far from flattering, untag them.

For advertising and marketing professionals, demonstrating your savvy with online networking sites is essential. Not only can these forums help you expand your base of contacts, but being familiar with the rules that govern their use could prove attractive to employers, who are investing more resources into developing social media programs and campaigns.

The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing advertising, marketing, creative and web professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at Follow TCG on Facebook and Twitter.
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