The human brain unconsciously places an emotional value onto every relationship we have, even our virtual “friends”. For example the “number” for our Mom would be +100, our significant other +99, the cat +102, for the crazy guy who doesn’t blink at the Starbucks (-10). Why does this matter? Social Media has allowed us to expand our perceived number of friends to a greater size, aka “grow our tribe”1.
How is this “Relationship Value” influenced? Remember the girl you met at the young professionals networking meeting a year ago that you had an amazing and lively conversation with? Probably not. But little did you know, your brain assigned her a positive value, and when you added her to your LinkedIn network, she became a more permanent part of your brain’s neural network. So when she messages you on LinkedIn, you will see her profile picture and your brain will recreate the positive interaction you had with her. This recollection will bring up more information in your brain than you even know. Some of the sub-variables that make up the “Relationship Number” in your brain include but are not limited to:
- Stereotype Bias – Did that fit the perception of someone I knew before in a good or a bad way?
- Trust – Did I perceive if that person was trustworthy?
- Interesting and Interested– Was the person interesting to talk to? Was that person interested and did they listen to what I was saying?
- Comfort -Was I comfortable around them?
- Fun – Was that person fun? Did I enjoy talking to them?
- Value – What value did that person bring into my life at that moment? Was he/she a good resource?
All of these variables are being unconsciously “measured” by your brain during every interaction and a value is assigned and surfaces as a gut feeling that you really can’t describe when you see their profile picture pop up in your inbox. Because of all of this neural action, the connections within our social network are perceived as warmer than connections we have never met or spoken to. This is why social networking for finding work is so powerful. You aleady have a social advantage to finding a job by simply using LinkedIn.
Ok, we talked about why this works from a social standpoint, now, let’s get a job using LinkedIn! So, imagine if you had the ability to gather all of your networking connections in a room and you could see every single job available in all of their organizations? With LinkedIn, you can… sortof. The only caveat is that they are using the LinkedIn platform to post their job openings (and most are now). Read on for career success:
6 Do’s of using LinkedIn to find a career:
- Build a smooth LinkedIn profile. Be sure to include the following:
- Professional headshot
- Powerful recommendations talking about your past performance
- Clear, concise, and descriptive content, free from careless typos
- Speicify your criteria and search for jobs using the LinkedIn Job Search Tool: http://www.linkedin.com/jobs. Once you find the position that suits your fancy, look at the listings and see who you know at the companies (it will list this information in the search results!). This is the only place online where you can use your networking connections and see visually who you need to talk to.
- Choose who to contact from the list. Look at their job title, if they aren’t in Human Resources, who cares! Ask them if you could setup a quick call with them to talk (Phone calls are a great way to reinforce and remind your connection of their initial gut feeling of you. The more personal you make the interaction, the more they want to help you.)
- Connection not a 1st tier? Ask for an introduction through your mutual connection!
- What if you randomly message someone outside of your network? The first thing that person is likely to do is look at who your mutual connections are, who has recommended you (and if they are reputable), and why you are contacting them.
- Join industry groups related to the field you are seeking employment in. Ask questions in the groups related to finding work. Position yourself as a resource as well. Monitor and track the conversations in the groups you are in and get involved! Remember social networking for business is all about growing your reputation. A person who is seen as a knowledgeable resource will be offered a job, be told of a job opening, and be recommended for a job more than someone who isn’t visible regularly to the group.
Your feet should be tired by now. Why you ask? From kicking some job searching a** all day long, that’s why! By using these techniques you can proactively take the right steps to find fruitful and fulfilling employment… and build you professional reputation in the meantime.
Barbra Bannon the Principle Firestarter at Evolution Consulting, a social strategy and online marketing firm. Her focus is how neuro-marketing can be applied to craft persuasive and sticky messages that influence and engage culture towards a socially responsible vision of the future.
Category: Job Search