You’re Fired! Part 5 – Getting to Know You…Online That Is
(This article continues where OERamz’s article “You’re Fired! Part 4 – I Dare Not Go It Alone” left off.)
I was now on my new journey, my next new job. It brought back memories of that first day at a new school where no one knew you or you them. Can we call in a “snow day”? (that’s the Northerner in me talking).
Given the state of the market and the number of job losses, the realization was that it no longer is what or who YOU know, but rather who THEY know. Like the new kid in school, the need to expand your network base requires going beyond your immediate contacts, past and present. It was especially true in my case, as I had chosen to navigate into a new field.
I sought out those colleagues and former employers to get their perspective whether the new road I had chosen made sense. I was looking for confirmation. There was that fear of the unknown and with the loss of confidence, I did not want to crash and burn (again). The brainstorming and conversations Ihad fortified the fact that my new pursuit was not only realistic but doable, phew!:)
With their blessings and with some referrals in hand, my next task was to connect and speak to subject matter experts (SMEs), those team captains/leads in the school scenario. The question now was how to go about it. Like the new kid not yet knowing which cliques and groups to join, making those connections, the right connections, was a vital one.
The parallel between making those new friends in the schoolyard to social media networking was now before me. Like the new kid standing alone on the side watching all the other kids playing, I realized I would have to step in and join one of those groups. My fear, however, was giving up my privacy by going online. The idea of opening yourself up to those who might reject you was not appealing either. To add fuel to this fire, I had heard the horror stories about those being stalked or making the embarrassing kind of connections or worst yet, having my identity stolen. So my perception of online privacy was not (initially) a positive one.
However, the social media network medium was an essential tool to my job search. Focused and targeted, I committed myself in good faith (but not without some internal struggles). I created my online persona, as it is the age of the personal brand, right? Ultimately, I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and took the plunge. Thus began my era as a LinkedIn member. Oh my!
Interestingly, I was now in a useful and professional niche. I found former colleagues and friends, some of whom I had not spoken to in over 10-20 years! I periodically faced rejection, via the “Do Not Know” response to my invitations. And for those who do it, I ask, “Seriously???” (Footnote: If you do not want to accept an invitation, just ignore (archive) it, no need to DNK as that can result in shutting someone out of their account – and that’s just plain mean).
Ok, so … back to those necessary connections, I found that when you genuinely approach a professional, like a new friend, you ought to be open-minded and willing to share a little about yourself. I initiated the communication by stating that upon reading their profile, I was interested in the opportunity to share and discuss their roles and background, and ultimately, sought their insight and advice. Amazingly, and surprisingly 98% (and you know who you 2% are) responded positively and were generous of their time and knowledge.
Like meeting that new first friend, it can be nerve-wracking, and hope to make a good first impression. It also involved finding those of like minds, beliefs and professional goals. You want to have something in common. I received pearls of wisdom from many of these experts, and their guidance and support have been invaluable. They are those friends we made in school who offered us the seat next to them, shared a smile, and when our pencil broke, shared your sharpener. Thank you!
How did you approach networking while job searching? Were you comfortable with social media networks, if so, how? If not, why not?
(The saga continues next week with Orietta’s “You’re Fired! Part 6 – Doin’ the Interview”)
Orietta E. Ramírez (pen name OERamz) is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, raised in The Bronx, and presently calls home in Dutchess County, New York. Pedagogically, her claim to fame, as she puts it, is that she shares Cardinal Spellman H.S. as her alma mater with the distinguished Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Fordham University with Vince Lombardi and Steve Bellán, first Latin American to play Major League Baseball, and with Geraldo Rivera, another Brooklyn Law School alum. A first generation Chilean-American, she is a dynamic bilingual lawyer, employee relations advocate and project manager, with experience in human capital administration, audit and risk management. While leveraging her legal and compliance background as an HR partner, she incorporates her expertise on projects and in business relationships with a focus on diversity and inclusion as well as talent management. She is an avid reader and includes salsa dancing among her extracurricular activities, and is always open to all that is intriguing and challenging, which offers new opportunities for thought.