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Online Networking for Jobseekers

By Matt Lowney

The ability to effectively use online resources can help jobseekers uncover employment opportunities.  While most jobseekers are well aware of online job boards to find openings, they do not fully harness the internet's ability to help them network.  For example, several professional and social networking sites exist that can help you make connections leading to job opportunities.  Here are some suggestions that should help you better utilize the internet as part of a successful job search.

Professional networking sites.  Sites like ZoomInfo.com and LinkedIn.com exist for the purpose of networking, primarily on a professional level.  Creating a profile and inviting professional contacts is usually available at no cost, however you may need to pay a fee in order to get the contact information of people who are outside of your individual online network.  By paying for a subscription, you can uncover contact information at literally thousands of companies nationwide.  In addition, you can limit your search to location, industry, or even a department within a company.  Depending on what information a contact has provided, you can email or call him or her directly.   This can make gathering contacts simple, but ultimately you will need to make the first step by contacting this person to request a meeting.

Social networking sites.  Myspace.com and Faacebook.com are both popular social networking sites, but many jobseekers don't see them as a way to find employment.  Recruiters have been using these sites for years to find candidates, because they can search individual profiles by keyword.  Jobseekers can do the same when searching for contacts.  Since many people who create a profile include the company they work for and job title, jobseekers can search profiles for this information.  The great part of social networking sites is that they are usually free.

Other online networking opportunities.  Depending on your industry, several websites and web-blogs exist that can make for effective online networking.  Unfortunately a lot of these sites are basically gossip columns and can eat up a lot of your time with unfocused and inaccurate information.  Another great resource for contact information is through college alumni groups.  Many universities have created distribution lists and websites for their alumni to stay in contact.  Alumni networking is a great way to make contacts because you can reach out to someone who already has a common interest.  You don't have to start your conversation out with “I'm looking for a job.”  Instead, you can start your conversation with something about the university and then lead into a discussion about pursuing new opportunities.   Most alumni are more than happy to help other alumni find a job

Matt Lowney is a corporate recruiter, radio host, and career consultant specializing in the areas of healthcare and information technology.  He can be reached at mlowney1977@yahoo.com for additional information about his services.