Networking for Adults: Online Social Networks and How to Leverage Them

If you have teenagers or college students, you probably have heard of or looked at Facebook or MySpace. Well if you haven’t found them yet, there are social networking sites for adults. So why should you care? Because networking is a significant part of success. And online social networks can be very effective at meeting your needs -reap your rewards - if you’ve been doing a little sowing ahead of time. Two of the more popular are LinkedIn and Plaxo.

So let’s say you want to begin investigating other employment opportunities. Using LinkedIn or Plaxo, you could find someone, actually just about anyone, anywhere, in any company that is willing to talk to you about their company, their culture, their job opportunities, etc. One piece of advice, don’t use these as job search tools, use them as job networking tools. There is a big difference. When you let it be known you are looking for a job, most people are limited in what they can do to help you.

On the other hand, if you contact someone at a company you are targeting and let it be known you were reading about their company and were intrigued by ABC company’s strategy for xyz and how it fits your experience, your contact may become a new friend, especially if the connection also includes you both went to the same university and graduated within two years of each other. Another example of leveraging your network is to look for people that list your employer as a past employer. The company alumni network is a tremendously deep network.

There are social networks for unique demographic groups. For example, for woman over 40, there is a site called Watch the video from the founder.