Social Networking the Old-Fashioned Way

by: Nancy Stoker Friday, August 19th, 2011

I honestly cannot believe that I look back at certain aspects my life and know somebody, somewhere considers them old fashioned. I’m not talking about the fact that we used to have to get up, go over to the television and turn a knob to change stations, nor am I referring to the demise of the LP record and of the rotary phone. In this case, I am, instead, talking about, well, talking.

It is with great clarity that I remember the very moment I was told in a staff meeting that we were about to get something awesome – e-mail!! E-what? I listened to the pitch, but I had so many questions racing through my head: You can do what? It happens how fast? Wait, can we do this instead of placing a phone call? Oh, we probably will do this instead of actually calling? Hold the phone (no pun intended), but exactly what is happening here?

I have to admit, I quickly realized I was alone with my thoughts because everyone around me seemed pretty excited. So, what was my problem?

It wasn’t long until the department’s computer expert was in my office teaching me the basics of creating a new message, establishing an address list and checking for new messages. It was during that visit when it finally hit why I wasn’t excited. I couldn’t help but wonder: Were people going to actually talk to each other anymore?

Here we are a few decades later, and, of course, I’ve gotten on board with many aspects of the e-world. In fact, I really wouldn’t want to lose access to most of it. Like you, I’ve found both great use and great fun within the cyber world. It’s interesting, though, to really think about how we’ve gone from electronic communications complimenting our daily lives to where face-to-face interactions and holding an actual phone conversation now, instead, compliment the e-world.

By and large, this is a system that works really well because we, collectively, made that happen. Many of even the most electronic-resistant individuals succumb to one form or another of electronic communication.  And, of course, the e-world probably reigns in all aspects of your professional world including while you are searching for a job.

While you are (and most certainly should be) utilizing every electronic avenue available to you during your search, I urge you to put personal communication in your arsenal of methods. I think back to my very first job where I realized within four weeks it was a terrible fit for me. Immediately, I started searching which included talking. I had to be careful and not make my desire to leave known within the company (a huge no-no in that particular environment; knowing my audience was necessary for employment survival). However, I made it well known throughout my network of friends, near and far, that I interested in leaving my job. Further, I told them what I was hoping to find in case they caught wind of an opportunity.

Within a month, I received a phone call from a former acquaintance who heard from a friend who heard from another friend that I was looking for a new job. The open position was in the field I wanted to enter and matched what I wanted to do. Ultimately, I was offered the position launching me into the field I most desired. I was later told by the person who placed the initial call that they, on the hiring end, would have never thought to call me because they knew I’d just started my other (miserable) job, but they did so because word of my desire to leave that job came to them from through the grapevine when they were putting out their own, “Do you happen to know anyone interested?” feelers.

I had no idea when I first mentioned to friends that I was job searching that just alking about it would turn out to be my most effective search strategy. As it turns out, when I review my career history, it has been the most effective search strategy I’ve ever used; every professional position I’ve ever taken has been the direct result of in-person networking.

While you are utilizing the many forms of social media available at your fingertips (and you most definitely should be using them to your advantage), don’t let an opportunity slip by that’s right in front of you or is just a friendly phone call away. People with whom you connect on social networking sites most definitely are willing to help with job opening tips and referrals. Just remember, it is just as important and potentially as effective to network with the people right in front of you!

Have you found a job primarily through networking? Let us know here, or head over to our Facebook page , and tell us about it!

Nancy Stoker is a Senior Client Services Representative and Research Associate with ExecSearches.com. She can be reached at nancys@execsearches.com.

ExecSearches.com is a job board for nonprofit job seekers interested in fundraising, management and executive nonprofit jobs.

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