That was Jason Alba's prominent theme Wednesday night in the CFN's first webinar for Consortium students, alumni and friends. Over 115 registered to participate in the webinar.
Alba, CEO of JibberJobber.com, hosted the session and provided tools and clues on how best to use online professional and social networks to your advantage--especially Linkedin.com. Alba is the author of "I'm on Facebook, Now What?" and produced the DVD "Linkedin for Job Seekers."
Alba was once a victim of corporate downsizing; years later, he's used the expertise and experience from exhaustive job searches to develop useful strategies for career management. In a 90-minute presentation, special for the Consortium, he touched on many topics and offered dozens of helpful hints. Some are summarized below.
1. Job search should no longer be about just that. Transform "job search" into "career management." And do that by always growing your networks--in your geography, in your profession and in your industry, he said.
2. In networking, assess "who you know": family, professors, friends, colleagues, friends of friends. There are important people and power people, but there are, he pointed out, "power connectors," people who can connect you to other power people, sometimes just from the roles they play or the positions they hold. ("Accountants," for example, he said, "know everybody," because of their contacts with many key people in corporations.)
Nurture relationships; go beyond the superficial. E-mail, follow up, send thank-you notes, and personal greetings. Make people remember you.
3. Alba suggested sending out a monthly newsletter or communique to selected people in your network, but "keep it short." In it, tell people what you want, what companies you have seen, what companies you want to see, what job titles you are interested in. When people know what you are up to and what you want, they can help you, connect you or tell you exactly what you need to know.
4. The Linkedin Profile. Abla stressed the importance of the profile: "This is how people find you." Fix it up, make sure it's updated, include a professional picture, and be precise in the summary. Attach links (detailed resume', other information, etc.), as well.
Use the new features of Linkedin: "Answers," "Companies." He showed how they can be used in searches, in helping networks sprout, and in figuring out who's who at the places you want to be. The features, he demonstrated, can prove you already have a far more extended reach into certain firms than you thought.
5. Powerpoint Presentations of yourself. Alba thought it wise to prepare a presentation of yourself, particularly helpful in establishing your personal brand and pinpointing who you are and what you want.
6. Elevator pitches. Alba urged people to prepare not just one, but many: a 30-second pitch, a 5-second pitch, and pitches for different audiences and different purposes.
7. JibberJobber. Because Linkedin doesn't have a useful, intricate relationship-management tool, his site can fill that role. Alba showed how to manage networks and people contacts for the long term. The tool helps you classify, rate, and assess your contacts and keep tabs of those you haven't been in touch with for years. Yes, he suggested you rank or rate your contacts.
8. Alba, a constant blogger himself, is a big believer of blogging--making it easy for others to find you, allowing you to deliver your message, and polishing your personal brand. He gave an example of a law student, whose network is now so extensive he has over 70,000 following him on Twitter. Alba hinted that it would be impossible for him not to find the perfect position when he decides he wants to practice law.
For those who also participated in the webinar, share your feedback and insight. For those interested in more, visit http://www.jibberjobber.com/ and reach out to Alba directly.