Now more than ever, our lives are interconnected from Salt Lake to Shanghai—from the top of the world to the world down under. When I look at my Facebook friends and Linkedin connections, I have contacts from places I’ve never stepped foot. This new method of interaction has opened the world – literally – to possibilities outside my front door. The question now becomes about leveraging connections to help move you to the next phase of your career.
I often think about playing a travel game with my social media connections. With thousands of connections, I wonder how many people would be willing to let me crash on their couch if I happened to be in their city. Do I have a strong enough relationship with the contacts that they’d let me invade their personal space, even for one night, or would they be scared off by the proposition?
The same line of thinking can apply when it comes time to reach out to ask for a recommendation for a job or a position within somebody’s company. So often when we discuss networking, we make the mistake of putting our needs before thinking about the needs of the other person. Don’t burn through your resources; instead take the time to enrich alliance. Traditionally that meant meeting for coffee or socializing at networking events to find out what the other person was working on and what their career or employment aspirations were. Now we can find out if a person is traveling for work, has a work anniversary, promotion, or even if they’re angry with a co-worker without lifting the phone or sending an email. The key to successfully utilizing your digital connections is being actively engaged, not passively stalking.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is a bountiful resource for career prospecting, especially while in business school. We have a significant advantage to change careers, change locations, and advance our careers exponentially faster than the generations before us. Here are a few things to remember as you navigate this emerging process of how to find work.
- Update your status’ to let your connections know the type of position you’re looking to acquire.
- Keep your resume on Linkedin current and compelling. Use it as a career builder.
- Keep strict boundaries between the si