Social Networking (Linked-In, Twitter, Facebook) can be very helpful in your job search. Like any venue that allows you to connect with others, use it wisely. When you want to reach out and talk with someone from a certain company or organization, try to find someone you know, who knows someone who works there. Make your initial interaction with anyone you’re in contact with about them and not you. Nothing is worse than having someone’s first interaction with you be a request.
When I was with NIKE, complete strangers frequently approached me in both work and social situations with two of my least favorite questions, “Can ya get me free stuff?” and “Can ya get me a job?”. Wow, are you serious? We just met and you want me to do you a huge favor? Normally I am a fairly easy going, friendly person. In these situations I would clam up and end the conversation as quickly as possible.
In contrast when new people would start off conversations by introducing themselves and then asking questions about what I did and where I worked, often I would end up sharing many stories. Sometimes I ended up volunteering to help them out with contacts or job leads.
Asking a simple question can mean so much. “I understand you currently work for XYZ company. That must be fascinating. What is it like?” Most people love to talk about two things: 1) themselves and 2) what they do for a living. When asking questions of interest, you are allowing them to share what they know the most about and it puts everyone at ease. As trust is built, you can start asking advice from the person and will get an opportunity to share your situation and see if the connection can lead you ultimately to a job.