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The Importance Of On-line Networking In Job Searching

Do you exist? - by Ron Bates
26-May-06 2:33am

I had the good fortune of being one of three guest speakers in a recent 90-minute Experts Connection webinar discussion chaired by Netshare CEO Kathy Simmons this week titled:

Do THEY Know You? Business Networks and Online Presence-Making It Work For You.

Jim Fowler was the first speaker. Jim is Founder & CEO of Jigsaw, an innovative contact database with over +3 million contacts at over 351,000 companies. I had also mentioned Jigsaw in a previous blog titled: What's in your networking toolbox? The second speaker was Cindy Kraft, an industry leading personal branding consultant. I was the last speaker.

Jim Fowler spoke about how on-line database such as Jigsaw can help one's networking efforts. Cindy Kraft spoke about the importance of having a branded on line presence.

Cindy started her discussion by raising the question, "If you're not in Google, do you exist?" She also offered up some interesting statistics stating, "In a recent survey by Execunet [a career-services network for executives earning $100,000 a year or more], 63% of recruiters said they Google a candidate's name prior to talking with them, and almost half indicated they eliminate a candidate based on their findings. A recent Harris Poll showed that 23% of individuals Google a colleague prior to meeting with them. Those statistics will continue to grow ... and grow rapidly in the next few years."

In a report titled Blog or die?, according to Daiwa securities, Blogging has emerged from obscurity to mainstream phenomenon in around two years. Blogging emerged as a phenomenon in around 2003. By February 2005 Daiwa securities estimated there were around 20 million active blogs with over 500,000 new ones starting every month.

A Google query for the term "blog" returned 254 million results - ahead of MP3, Television and God. The same survey found 27% of American Internet users read blogs, 7% blog regularly themselves, and 12% have posted comments on a blog.

The Fast Company article, Creating a Gem of a Career states, "In the future, [employers] aren't going to advertise job openings anymore," says Warren Bare, CEO and founder of Jobkabob, another job-matching service. "They'll find you." It's a scary prospect for anyone who has ever been out of work. But for the agile, well-presented, ever-learning, constantly networking top performer, it sounds . . . perfect.

ExecuNet, reported in its latest annual survey of the senior-management job market that 70% of human-resources chiefs say they rely heavily on referrals and other networking contacts to find candidates for executive job openings, which are almost never advertised anywhere (on job boards, for instance).

In the FORTUNE article titled: Five months of networking, still no new job - You're doing all the right things to land a great position, but aren't getting anywhere. What's wrong? Senior writer Anne Fisher states, "Doing all the right things,…, puts you out ahead of most of your competition." She then states, "The ExecuNet poll shows that, while 84% of senior managers agree that broad networks of personal and professional contacts are crucial to success, just 19% say their own networks are in "excellent" or "very good" shape."

It's one thing to have a network - it's another thing to have a branded online presence that effectively communicates who you are and what your unique value proposition is.

As Cindy Kraft puts it, "Think of the power your branded online identity brings into that interview. They probably already like you based on the connection they feel - which is based on who they believe you to already be. You want to be visible with a clear and compelling message to the people who need to know about you. You can't compete on being average or a mere commodity. And you can't compete today - and definitely not in the future - if you can't be found."

A number of executives now have their own blogs and dedicated personal websites that attempt to showcase their unique value proposition. You can create all the online content you want, but if it doesn't index high in search returns it really doesn't help you that much.

So by this point, you might be asking, "So how do you start creating a presence that can actually be found on the Internet?"


You might have guessed what I spent my 30 minutes discussing.

Ecademy is the best way to not only start creating content that will index high in search engine returns (e.g., your Ecademy Profile and blogs). As I've also described in previous blogs (e.g., This is some fun stuff!! - Building a Personal Internet Presence and Is your Networking Profile useless? ) Ecademy is a priceless tool for being able to create a branded online identity by also driving off Ecademy content you've created (e.g., your own dedicated personal website, articles, blogs, etc.) to index higher in search engine returns as well.

I'm always happy to discuss this with anyone that would like to do so.

Happy Networking.

Ron Bates
Managing Principal
Executive Advantage Group

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