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Are you turning to social media to support your networking strategy? Are you letting your proudly posted profiles represent you to anyone who’s interested enough to look you up? That’s great, and if you’re searching for a new position, polishing your online profiles will be a key first step. But your job search efforts don’t end once your LinkedIn profile is activated. Many frustrated job seekers are sitting in front of their computers all day wondering why they’re still unemployed. Don’t be one of these people. To bring your networking efforts into high gear, post your profiles and then leave the screen behind. Try these tips.

Social Media and Your Job Search: Get on, Get Off, and Get Out into the World

1. Use the Phone (as a Phone)

Your mentors and connections can help you by pointing you toward valuable leads, but it isn’t enough to simply add them to your “friends” lists.  Reach out. Stay connected on meaningful levels. Invite them to lunch and while you sit across a table together, ask them for advice. Find out what they would do and who they would turn to if they were in your shoes. And most important of all: keep the relationship focused on what you can do for them, not on what they can do for you.

2. Attend Industry Events

No matter where you live, there are industry-specific networking events, job fairs, and meet-and-greets happening all around you. Find out when and when these events are taking place. Then register (if you need to) and show up. Bring your best smile, your firm handshake and a few business cards to hand out. You may have a winning online profile, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. Get in front of the people who can help you– literally.

3. Schedule Informational Interviews

Your mentors and connections have already met you, and it’s not out of line to invite them to lunch. But an informational interview allows you to schedule meetings with executives and hiring managers who you may not know in person. Find someone who may be able to provide you with information and advice, then reach out and ask this person for a ten minute meeting. Treat the meeting like an interview, but one in which you ask all the questions. Make sure your questions are intelligent, meaningful, and respectful of the person’s time. And don’t forget to follow up with a handwritten note of thanks.

Real life networking is hard work, and it requires no small amount of energy, focus, and social courage. But while the real-world version may be difficult, it brings high returns and can help you edge ahead of your screen-bound competitors. Turn to the job search pros at Tech Needs for additional tips and guidance.

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