Men may not stop to ask for directions when lost, but they will ask for help when it comes to finding a job. According to a survey of more than 2,000 job seekers conducted by DrWoody/TweetMyJOBS, men are significantly more likely than women to reach out to professional connections when trying to land their next job.
Some survey highlights include the fact that men were significantly more proactive in:
- Phoning & e-mailing colleagues and professional contacts
- Reaching out to current colleagues and professional contacts via social media
- Making new professional contacts via social media
Given the challenges of the current job market, women's reluctance to reach out for job-hunting assistance puts them at a distinct disadvantage. This is particularly true for young mothers who may not have as much time to reach out and make those coveted connections.
So, what can women do to close the gap in this highly-competitive market? The job market has and always will be about who you know. Studies have found that nearly one in 10 job offers comes through a referral. Anyone in the charitable giving and development business will tell you it’s not about “fundraising” it’s about “friendraising”. The same is true for landing a job and building a career. Building your network requires both assertively reaching out to your existing network as well as adding to that network through social media. Here's how to boost your network:
Be an Asserter not Aggressor: Women in this country have long dealt with negative stereotypes when in fact their behavior isn’t all that different from their male counterparts. The challenge for women is getting attention while avoiding the negative byproducts that men don’t have to contend with. When reaching out to friends and former colleagues, be honest and let them know you are out there looking for job prospects. Don’t be afraid to initiate the conversation, and offer to help them help you. In other words, be willing to provide them with whatever they need from you to make a successful pitch to their network. Don’t be afraid to ask, but also offer to do as much of the work as you can to help them help you.
Learn the Art of Social Recruiting: Social media has become the greatest networking and job search platform we have ever seen. The fear of online stalkers or predators keeps some women from using the internet to network and establish relationships. Women can safely take advantage of social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to reach out those friends they already have a relationship with and get referrals from those trusted sources.
LinkedIn has a function for getting introduced to the connections of those in the networks of your immediate contacts, which can be a great way to meet valuable new contacts who may either have leads or even be hiring themselves. When it comes to getting specific leads, TweetMyJOBS offers customized job channels that deliver specified job leads directly to your inbox or mobile device, so as to keep you up-to-date on relevant opportunities as they become available. The bottom line, social media can be a powerful asset if utilized correctly.
Surfing job boards and perusing classified ads no longer cut it in this job market. It’s about proactively building your personal network and leveraging social media to get that extra edge, and this means going beyond reaching out to just family and friends.
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership.Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook