Monday, May 18, 2009

Business Leaders Embrace Online Networking

Posted by Mark Brousseau

With the employment market feeling the effects of a global recession, recent research from ExecuNet, a professional network for business leaders, reveals executives from across all industries are turning to technology to improve their networks and career prospects - with mixed results.

According to a recent survey of 4,680 business leaders, executives are more likely to have updated their profile on a public networking site (71%) than updated their resume in the last three months (60%). However, when asked to identify the most effective activities for creating and identifying career opportunities, posting a resume in an online database and maintaining an online profile trailed networking by a wide margin.

Top Five Tactics For Finding Career Options

... Networking (70%)
... Responding to online job postings (14%)
... Posting resume in online database (5%)
... Maintaining an online profile (4%)
... Researching target companies/cold calling (3%)

“The growth of large social networking sites helps to underscore an increasing awareness of the value of networking,” says Lauryn Franzoni, Executive Director of ExecuNet. “However, relying solely on an online profile to build trust, a critical component in developing and maintaining an effective network, isn’t a productive strategy.”

To help executives strengthen their online networking strategies, ExecuNet offers the following advice:

Don’t Confuse Quantity With Quality - Networking is not a numbers game. While some large social networking sites provide a place to create a public profile page, anecdotal evidence suggests that they don’t always facilitate a meaningful level of interaction among members. When evaluating online networking resources, professionals should look for niche networks that foster the exchange of information and insight in a trusted environment. This level of interaction is critical to strengthening the quality of your contacts – online or off.

Avoid “Needworking” - A contact or friends list of thousands of people is useless if you only reach out to them when you’re in need. Striving to meet the needs of others on a consistent basis will not only help you earn the appreciation and respect of others, but your actions will often be quickly reciprocated.

Know Your Contacts – If you are looking for new opportunities, don’t blast generic emails out touting your skills and announcing your availability. Tailor your message to the needs of the recipient. Want to connect with a corporate property manager? Learn more about the company’s expansion plans and contact that individual offering an article or advice from your own personal experience. Share your knowledge – not your need.

Be Reputation-Vigilant – When networking, you can expect that new contacts will immediately “Google” your name. Be sure that you know what they will find when they do. For example, some 44% of recruiters tell us they have ruled out candidates based solely on what they found in online searches.

“Create a Google Alert for the most common forms of your name and be sure you can’t be confused with someone with a similar name. It is as important to be cyber-visible as it is to have a crisp online presence,” Franzoni said.

What strategies are working for you?

No comments: