Using Your Social Media Contacts When Searching for a Job: Back to the Basics

Lately, I have been receiving some bizarre requests from people I barely know or whom I recently got connected to on LinkedIn. I quote: ‘I urgently need a job, after a short training I can do anything’. I am sure, many of you know what I am talking about.

After the initial surprise, I did concede that in our digital era, using LinkedIn for job searches is as natural as it is a good thing. However, there are ways to do it and ways not to. So, even if I do not hire at the moment, I thought I could be of help to those looking for a job on social media platforms. I would like to go through a few basic rules that are helpful in any communication, not only when looking for a job or requesting a favour.

Always, always, no exception – write the addressee’s name correctly. This is a modicum of respect required in any conversation. It shouldn’t be rocket science that I wouldn’t be inclined to grant any favours if somebody calls me ‘Iona’ instead of ‘Ioana’. Easy as pie, isn’t it?

Take the time and learn what this person/organization is about. 
Let me put it this way: there is no better way to show that your interest is real than to spend time understanding what it is they are doing. This doesn’t guarantee the job, but it will get their attention – and this is what you want anyway, at this stage; and, should there be a second bout of communication, you will have a better starting position. This is well invested time.

Specify how you can bring value to the organization.
Even better, underline the relevant skills and career capital you have acquired so far – best in your LinkedIn profile or activities. Do not expect that people will search for relevant information outside the platform you are using. You are the one that wants something, so be prepared to do the work and carefully pen your request. Making a poor first impression will not help.

Reply gracefully, even if you get an honest ‘no’.
Consider that many of the people you’re addressing lead busy lives, or might receive plenty of other messages. The mere fact that they took a moment to write you a response, even if it is the one you didn’t want to hear, should be appreciated.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

And, the crème de la crème of all advices: be so good they can’t ignore you.
This means you should have acquired by now the best skills and the necessary knowledge to outperform your peers; now is the time to let the world know it.
By the way, this is the title of a book I recommend to all those looking to build a successful, satisfying work life, written by Cal Newport: So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

While I understand this is not the answer someone in need of a job would like to hear – as sometimes this need brings a sense of urgency, I have written these lines in the hope that, at the very least, the process will be optimized for all parties involved.

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