Social media is a powerful technology tool for everyone to build connections. But nothing beats a good face to face meeting, so be honest with yourself and ask, "Am I relying too much on social media" and maybe now is the time to pick up the phone and ask someone, "Can I buy you a cup of coffee?" • One in-person conversation can do a lot more for your job search than an e-mail or a profile on LinkedIn. Networking is how a job seeker will be the most successful in finding the next opportunity. Building online relationships using social media is a way of connecting with others. Below are tips to use social networking to get a face to face meeting with a potential employer or network contact, from Jayne Mattson of Keystone Associates, a career management and transition services consulting firm in Boston (keystoneassociates.com).
Become likable through your communications so people will want to meet you. Read the LinkedIn updates and send a congratulatory or acknowledgement e-mail about the posting. Be generous with your praise about what your contact is doing personally and professionally.
Make sure you research the people you are meeting and their business. Be able to share something that might add value to them or their business. After you've made that initial contact, balance using social media, the telephone, in person, hand-written notes or personal e-mails to stay in touch. Share a link to an article or event with your contacts. Always personalize your LinkedIn invitations.
People remember you more readily if they have met you in person. An online photo in your profile is a good reminder, but it's not the same as looking you in the eye and shaking your hand.
Develop a strategy of how you want to be viewed when people see you in person for the first time — first impressions are important. Focus on how you dress, how you groom yourself, how you speak, make good eye contact, answer questions appropriately, and be on time.
If building relationships does not come easily to you, read Dale Carnegie's well-known book How to Win Friends and Influence People for tips on how to treat people.