Millions of employees today would like to network for their next career moves in private. A novel idea, yes?
Actually, that’s how it used to be in the “old days” before LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter! And now the pendulum is swinging back to more confidential, selective, and strategic networking for career change.
Don’t get me wrong; LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool to connect with hiring companies, recruiters, and more. So are Facebook and Twitter. Even Facebook recognizes this trend to more privacy and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently announced “Anonymous Login.” It gives users the ability to avoid sharing any of the data already on Facebook with an outside app. “With the new login, I can sign in on my own terms,” Zuckerberg said. “As a developer, this is going to help more people feel comfortable signing into your apps and engaging with them.”
“Unsocial” networking enables selectivity and, yes, even privacy. You may not want everyone to know your business or what you are targeting as your next career move. You may want to talk to specific people about certain issues rather than broadcast your queries and concerns across the web. Additionally, you may want some private assistance or access to online networking groups and educational events.
My recommendation: Unsocial network sites should be an “and” not an “or” to your full job search strategy.
Sites like Netshare.com have built an unsocial network site for executives, whether they are in job search mode or not. Unlike LinkedIn, which is akin to the hot new club where you want to be seen, Netshare, started in 1991, has created a smoke-filled backroom where deals get done. Sure, you want the exposure of a big social network to build personal brand awareness, but the real networking goes on behind the scenes.
Kathy Simmons, President and CEO of Netshare, says, “There’s an intimacy and a camaraderie that we cultivate, because true networking is about learning from one another, sharing leads and insights, and helping your peers, because you know they will help you in return.” To provide this membership-based experience, Netshare vets all their job descriptions to make sure they are for real positions that suit their membership. They have personal introductory calls, weekly career coaching calls, online networking groups, and educational events for members only.
Simmons provides her strategy: “While there is a place for the big, impersonal social networking arena, like LinkedIn, it’s hard to distinguish yourself among the LinkedIn masses in any way that promotes a sense of common purpose and mutual support. That’s why you want to be seen on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but you also want to find smaller, more targeted networks where you can actually interact, network, and get to know your peers.”
Here are additional tips for confidential job searching – and keeping it confidential:
- Do not use your work email address for job hunting. Use your personal account.
- Use your personal phone number for job hunting – not your work number.
- Don’t use your employer’s computers or phone system for any part of your job search.
- If you don’t want your current employer to accidentally find your resume when searching for candidates, post on job sites where you can keep your employer and contact information confidential.
- Schedule interviews at either the beginning or the end of the day or during your lunch hour. If you have vacation time you can use, schedule multiple interviews for the same day.
- Do NOT tell anyone at work that you’re looking for a new job. A confidence shared is a confidence broken – there are no secrets!
- Be very careful what you post on social networking sites. Don’t tell your Facebook friends or your LinkedIn connections that you’re job searching. Don’t tweet about your job search activities either.
Now that you’ve chosen to take control of your career and take the next steps, you need a good dose of privacy and confidentiality. Change your game and invest in the right “unsocial” networks to meet your job search and networking goals.