Are you looking for a job?  Even in a good global economy, many are still searching for a new career opportunity.  I meet people everyday on-line who ask for help in finding a job.  The key to finding a job is not just in what you know, but also in who you know.  Relationships have always played a vital part, via referrals to doors opening for candidates to be considered.  Sometimes the relationship not only cements the interview, but also the offer.  How well you know people and how much they like you are important to your overall success at just about everything.

How does any of this relate to social media?  Most job seekers are failing at establishing new connections that can help them in pursuing a job.  In this case I don’t mean failing to add new people to their network.  What I mean is they are failing to build any type of relationship and skipping over the rapport building process altogether.  The strength of the relationship in will ultimately determine in most cases the level of help one will offer to the one in need. 

Before I address some of the winning strategies, I want to help people stop a few losing methods, as sometimes cutting off dead weight is the fastest way to improve your overall performance.  These three techniques will single handedly hurt your chance of building any useful professional relationship on social media.  If you are engaging in them, decease and desist immediately. 

The Blind Resume

I have received over 100 CV/Resumes from brand new connections in one day before.  I receive an unsolicited CV or Resume every single day and have for the past five months.  Why?  People are desperate to find a job and they know that I help people with finding jobs.  What they don’t realize is I am not a recruiter, not an employer and nor can I give anyone a job.  I am the bridge that connects employers to their future employees.  How?  With good strategy.  Sending a blind resume is useless.  I don’t read unsolicited resumes, in fact I don’t even open them and neither do most others.  Stop sending people your CV/Resume unless they ask to see it or give you permission to send it to them.

The Creep

I cringe whenever I get a private message within 30 to 90 seconds of accepting a connection request.  Why?  Because it’s normally one of two things and I don’t like either.  The first person has an automated spam message they send out, trying to pitch their services.  They haven’t built a relationship and don’t know anything about me, but they want to sell me on how they can improve my life.  Trust me when I tell you that after 20 years of professional sales, that is a broken strategy that should be halted. 

The second and more common type is the creep.  This is the person who starts with “hi” or “hello” in a private message.  If you don’t respond, they continue with other similar messages.  If you do respond, they continue to make very small talk, like what do you do, where are you from and a million other things that can all be learned by simply reading the profile.  Creeps need to learn social etiquette.  Unless you’re in a chat room, DM should be used sparingly when you are speaking with someone you just met, with professional aspirations.  In other words, the creep strategy for dating or other nonprofessional reasons might be effective, but it’s counterproductive for job seekers.

Sponsor Me:

Perhaps the single biggest mistake of them all and thankfully not as common as the blind resume and the creep, are the people who reach out and ask for sponsorship.  I have addressed the challenges of working abroad and even given strategies on how to help accomplish that in another blog, so for this I just want to address the request of sponsorship itself.  Please don’t ask someone you just met or barely know on social media to sponsor you to move to their country.  To me it is the equivalent of asking me to marry someone I don’t know.  Seriously. 

Most people have no idea what sponsorship is, so asking them blindly firstly is intimidating.  What all is involved with it?  What type of commitment would I really be making?  Are there risks to me as your sponsor if you come over and break the law?  Beyond all these, why would I stick my neck out to sponsor someone I don’t know?  Anything that takes commitment should be preceded with an established rapport and a foundation laying of trust.  The more someone gets to know you, like you and trust you, the more likely they’d be willing to risk vouching for you.  Premature sponsorship requests are simply foolish as they kill the conversation almost immediately and the person asked most certainly is going to run in the other direction and sever the new connection.

Winning Strategies

Now that we’ve gone through what not to do, I’m ready to talk about the three best ways to help people establish new winning relationships.  New relationships can be built relatively quickly if you don’t come across too aggressively or over extend your request for help.  Most people recognize that job seekers would like help and if you allow them to ask you how they can help, you’re more likely to receive what you need.  One of the main tips is to create opportunities for them to ask you how they can help. 

Positive Attention:

Most people like to be complimented and to be agreed with.  Want to build a friendship?  One of the best ways to ensure someone will like you, is to compliment them and agree with their positions, via comments on their posts.  If you go through the activity feed of a new connection and give them likes, positive comments, and share their posts consistently, you’ll find in no time flat, you’ll have made a friend.  As a sales professional I have learned most people’s favorite topic is themselves.  Allow others a chance to talk about themselves.  Show them you support them and their ideas.  When engaging with them be authentic and complimentary. 

Be Helpful:

Want help?  Provide help.  Most people feel a natural desire to scratch the back of those who are scratching their back.  If you’re looking for a job, one of the fastest ways to get help from people is to figure out ways to help them.  On social media, you don’t need money to be helpful.  Time and attention are just as valuable as money.  Give your time helping read, comment, like, share on comments.  Perhaps do research to help find missing information for your new friend.  You can write a post and brag about something that stands out to you from what you know and have read about the person you wish to help.  Maybe they are looking for new connections in a certain field or location and you can play match maker by helping them connect to others in your network.  Want to go far in social media?  Learn how to help others.  It works in real life too.

Be Professional:

When on-line some people forget about professional decorum.  Obviously not all social media is designed for professionals, however if you’re a job seeker, you always need to stay professional.  Keep your speech PG, stay friendly, be honest and don’t gossip.  Too many people fail to find jobs because they break these rules by being crude, gossiping, or being dishonest.  If you lose trust from your new connections because of unprofessional behavior, it will be tough to get them to then recommend you for a job.  I’m not trying to judge people, I’m pointing out what should be obvious.  You are on social media.  Everything you do is visible and therefore you must help guard from getting lose at the wheel.  Need to vent?  Take a break, don’t let your posts, comments or vlog rants kill your chance of being successful.  When on social media, be calm and collected.  Be friendly. 

Mixing Up Your Platform:

Social media can be a huge help in finding a job.  One way to help increase your chance of making the right connections and increasing your chance of success is to use multiple websites.  I love LinkedIn but not everyone out there does.  Some people still love Facebook, others are on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Service Professionals Network and countless others.  Like an investor who diversifies their risk tolerance by investing in multiple funds, a job seeker should split their social media consumption time into different platforms. 

If you have an hour to spend on social media, perhaps you spend 15 minutes on four different sites, communicating and helping new connections with their needs.  By mixing up the platforms, you are providing yourself greater exposure to a larger world audience.  You also have a better opportunity to see an ad or listing for jobs.  Not every company will post their job listings on every site.  Most companies must pay for listings, unless they’re using my site of course, so they pick and choose what platform to post on.  By visiting more sites, you have an increased chance of seeing the ad for your future job.

Be Active:

If you follow the other tips I just listed, being active is a key to tie them all together.  Want to make new friends and connections?  Being present is necessary.  If you are out of site on social media, you are not relevant.  Want to build rapport and get help finding a job or referrals to people who can hire you?  Every day, multiple times a day, you need to make some time get on your account and interact with your new connections.  You don’t need to post every day, but you should be commenting, liking and sharing what your new connections have posted often.  Engage with them, shower them with positive non-creepy attention. 

You can go from stranger to inner circle on social media in just a few short weeks.  Don’t over extend your hand, but when given an opportunity to prove you’re not selfish, jump in and do the work.  If you show that you can be counted on as a helper and a friend, you will build friendships fast.  So many people are selfish and all about themselves both in person and on-line.  To be different and earn quick positive attention, simply be selfless.  If you are proactively helping your new connections and doing it frequently, you’ll find a surge of positive momentum is created quickly.  Those you help the most will likely be the ones who then return the favor and do all they can to help you too. 

Winning Strategies Only Work When Followed

This blog has given you a lot to think about.  From what not to do to things to add to your strategy in order to grow meaningful and helpful relationships.  Unfortunately, most people will still struggle because they will fail to follow the tips I’ve given.  I want you to know that winning strategies only work when they are followed. 

How badly do you want a job?  Do you want to be successful?  Many times, the difference between being selected for a job or not, comes down to who you know.  If you want to win, please consider carefully adjusting your strategy to align with what I have shared.  These tips are designed to help you get to know more people and get closer to them quickly.  I want you to land the job of your dreams.  I am here to help.   Following a proven path will help you get there.