3 Things Energy Job Seekers Fail at With Social Media Networking

June 20, 2011

Career

“Professional networking” often leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. The schmoozing, the hand shaking, the business card exchanges – it can seem so pompous and fake. Take for example, this totally awesome ‘Kids in the Hall’ sketch about some networking businessmen.

Who in their right mind would actually want to do something like that? Not me. In fact, I’d rather spork my own eyes out than be forced into that room.

If you think this post is just a lame excuse to share my love un-funny, Canadian sketch comedy from the 80s, you’re only half-right. The other half of my intention is to advise you that the professional networking is vital for breaking into the energy industry.

Lucky for you, the networking scene has changed. With online venues such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs, you can ditch the ugly oversized suit and start networking in your pajamas. I still believe that in person networking is a huge asset, but with the energy workforce being fairly sparse and scattered about the country, face time is not always available. So, let’s talk about this mysterious, high-tech online professional networking phenomenon.

Some of you, readers, may already be plugged into this concept, but I’m willing to bet you probably don’t do much actual networking through these venues. The folks I know who are employed in and/or looking to be employed in the energy industry seem to fail miserably at this so here are some pointers.

CREATE social media profiles. I don’t care if you think Twitter is for teenagers with a burning need to tell the world what they had for breakfast. It’s more than that if you decide it to be. Since I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve managed to find some incredibly valuable insights and made fantastic connections. Clay Forsberg was in on the energy world back when I was in diapers. He speaks from the heart, thinks outside the box, and rocks an awesomely cerebral blog.  He’s one of my favorite new Tweeps (Twitter peeps, for those of you who don’t know the language) and he’s been a true source of inspiration.

UTILIZE your social media profiles. Once you set up your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, use them! Don’t just sit there and watch everyone else. That’s creepy and counterproductive. 95% of the LinkedIn users I know don’t actually do anything on LinkedIn. They read up on who’s connected to who at any given date or time but they’re not out there making introductions, participating in group forums, asking questions of their networks, and getting engaged. If you’re not talking to people in the industry, you’re not making friends with the people who could land you your next interview. Have you checked out the LinkedIn groups I’m a part of yet? If not, you should. There are tons of industry professionals just waiting for some great energy conversation.

SHAKE HANDS with everyone. Don’t just limit yourself to energy folks. Start talking to sales people in other industries, marketing professionals, government agency employees, or even the hot dog vendor that promotes his business to local professionals. You’d be surprised at how influential non-industry folks can be on your career. Mark Babbitt is a human resources pro but influences a wide array of career choices everyday through his work as CEO of YouTern – one of the premier web spots for internship and job seekers. I’m willing to bet Mark knows a couple energy execs or at least has some fabulous pointers to provide for interviews and resumes. Striking up conversation with people outside of the energy industry can do you as much good as schmoozing up the energy recruiter over yonder.

There you have it folks. Create, utilize, and shake hands in the online networking world. You’re fully equipped and ready to rock.

Have you already had a great experience with online professional networking? Share with the class so we can all be encouraged.

 

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