Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lindsey Pollak Interview Part 2 - Women and Networking

If you missed it yesterday, boys (and girls) did you miss out. Luckily this is the blog world and you can check it out by clicking here: Lindsey Interview Part 1.

So this brings us to Part 2! Let's jump right into it as Lindsey and I get into some great topics for the Social Media and Networking age, more Gen-Y assumptions and her new book, the Savvy Gal's Guide to Online Networking, co-written by Diane K. Danielson.

Greg: The cool Gen-Y thing is to start their own thing and stick it to the man. What happens when that plan doesn’t work and they have to go begging back to the man?


Lindsey: I think the situation you’re describing above is happening all the time and young people have the upper hand because baby boomers are retiring and companies need young employees. Gen Yers understand that you have to be the CEO of your own career in the 21st century. The days of working for the same company your whole career are WAY over. Gen Yers are building careers that might include stretches of corporate employment, entrepreneurship, school, freelancing, public service, small business, nonprofit and whatever else comes along. These types of career paths are bound to become more and more common.


However, it will always be important for job candidates to demonstrate their skills and relevant experience and to show an organization how they can contribute to its success. I believe that being gracious, hardworking and humble will always be in style.


Greg: Ok, the new book is co-written by yourself and Diane K. Danielson. Can you tell me how this idea came about for the 2 of you and maybe a quick background on the topic of savvy gals and online networking?


Lindsey: Diane is founder of DowntownWomensClub.com (DWC), a social and professional network for businesswomen. I’ve been an active member of the organization and write a column for its monthly newsletter. A few years ago, Diane created some online networking opportunities for DWC members who can’t make it to the meetings or don't have a local chapter in their area. At the same time, DWC conducted a technology survey of members and we were aghast to find out how “un-technical” they were and how many of them thought Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. were just a fad that wouldn't affect them.


Diane and I decided that there was a huge need for a manual about online networking, specifically catering to businesswomen. We both agreed that the prospect of writing a boring “how to” technology guide was painful. So, along with providing technical tips we decided to create a Jane Austen-like character who illustrates how she uses online technology to network through some fictional blog entries. Hence the subtitle, “The Savvy Gal’s Guide to Online Networking (or What Would Jane Austen Do?)” So far we’ve gotten great feedback on the combination of entertaining stories and tech tips.


Greg: What are some online networking tips specifically for job seekers?


Lindsey:

· First of all, make sure you are online networking! Recruiters and anyone else looking for strong job candidates all search online, so make sure your name comes up in their searches on networking sites like LinkedIn.com or Doostang.com. Use job boards to find the keywords related to your desired job, and then include those words or phrases in your online resume, your professional network profiles and anywhere else you appear online. This will help recruiters find you on the web.

· Think about all the networking emails you get and make note of which ones you answer and why (and which ones you let slip through the crack either consciously or subconsciously). Use this as a reference point for your own email writing when reaching out to new contacts.

· Be your own online PR agent. Did you join a new firm, get a promotion, or close a major deal? Don’t forget to let the online world know about it. Submit your news to your college alumni magazine, local newspaper or trade organization. Many of these publications also run the announcement online, which means your good news will be picked up by search engines if people are looking for the latest information on you.


Greg: Have you seen any of the negative effects of social networking in the job seeking process? Do you foresee problems with hiring managers and social networks?


Lindsey: Yes! Facebook and MySpace are all over the news right now, so recruiters, small business owners and other hirers are definitely checking out candidates’ profiles. A 2006 survey of job recruiters by CollegeRecruiter.com showed that 77% of employers have used search engines to uncover information about a candidate, and 35% have eliminated a candidate based on information they found online. I’m sure those stats are even higher today.


It’s fine if you want to have your profile on a social networking site like Facebook, but be aware that whatever you post may be read by a potential employer. They aren’t going to scrutinize every little detail of your profile (no one will cancel a job interview because you list “Gossip Girl” as your favorite TV show), but they are looking for red flags: underage drinking, excessive profanity, racy photos, etc. My advice to active job seekers is to make sure your Facebook or MySpace page has a PG rating. And don’t rely on privacy settings. You never know who may be connected to (or looking over the shoulder of) someone in your network.


It’s also important to avoid guilt by association. While you might have appropriate images or content on your profile, be sure to monitor your friends’ pictures and comments that appear on your page, or if they “tag” a risqué photo on their own page with your name. Students tell me this happens all the time, so be vigilant if you’re job hunting!


Greg: What does blogging mean to you, in terms of the job hunt or job seeking process?


Lindsey: I absolutely love blogging and interacting with job seekers online. All job seekers can give themselves an edge by reading career advice bloggers (yes, I’m biased!). On my blog I provide expert tips, promote career events, list job and internship opportunities, answer career questions submitted by readers and share relevant articles I find in news outlets or other blogs. It’s all free to readers, so I hope job seekers will take advantage of my blog--which is specifically for college students and young professionals--and all of the other great career bloggers out there.


If you’re interested, you can check out and subscribe to my blog at http://lindseypollak.blogspot.com. Thanks!


Well there you have it folks! I hope you enjoyed our little conversation and maybe picked up a thing or 2 (or 7) about Social Networks and blogging during the job hunt as well as the greatest untapped resource students have, the Student Resource Center!! Have a great afternoon Orlando, and everyone head over to Lindsey's blog and thank her for her insight, opinions and overall awesomeness in helping get some great information over to us here in Orlando, FL.


Look for Virtual Job Fair information tomorrow. You have been warned!


Greg Rollett

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