November 20, 2013, 3:49 PM — There are two big movements in networking and job hunting today: social media and soft skills.
Social media is the most efficient, effective way to expand your network or find a new job, and your soft skills are most likely to best differentiate you from your competition and, ideally, land you the job.
And the way the two intersect is the key to successful networking/job hunting: delayed reciprocity.
Lindsay Olson of U.S. News & World Report writes that providing a benefit to those in your social network is key to establishing rapport and building relationships.
"Just like with offline networking, the key to your success is giving, not getting," she notes. "You can't walk into a networking group and demand a job. It's the same on social networks. If one of your new contacts asks for advice about something, make a recommendation if you can. Send articles you think she'll be interested in. Work to provide value to her."
Another suggestion: help your network. If they're promoting something you think is solid or make a valid point or observation, give them a signal boost.
"Networking is about helping other people, not just convincing someone to hire you, Olson says. "That time will come, but if you focus on sharing content your contacts have tweeted or posted, comment on their content, and leaving insightful thoughts on their blogs, you'll build a strong foundation."
Don't treat your social network like a recruiter because their primary goal is not helping you get a job. Think about it this way, whom would you rather help: A social media contact who adds value to your career through insight and thought or the contact who only gets in touch when he wants something?
For more tips on improving your social media interpersonal skills, click below.