The importance of professional networking

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Gary Kildare, IBM VP for human resources previously wrote about changing careers. This week he blogs about professional networking

In getting that first job, or making a mid-career move, professionals need to think about how they can access the opportunities they need in order to become the leaders of tomorrow.

When 'Generation Y' started pouring into the workplace, they came bearing the tools of their time. Facebook. YouTube. Twitter. At first, these innovations seemed like another excuse for these digital natives to slack off. What many of us in the older generations didn't realise was that social networking wasn't actually wasting time. It has created a new way of working and is turning into a critical ingredient in career development.

Today, professional networking sites are a great resource for recruiters, so make sure your public CV is up to date and tailored to attract the interest of your potential next employer.

A recent IBM survey of HR leaders found that teams will increasingly form quickly, have a project or solution focus and be unconstrained by organisational or geographic boundaries. The ability to easily identify the right people with the skills to address current needs will be critical.

In the future, securing work will not always be about who you know, it will be about who knows you.

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"In the future, securing work will not always be about who you know, it will be about who knows you."

Unfortunately, it will also be about how the providers of networking sites "secure" your data (hello Facebook), while the question of who knows you will also be about how you manage your online profiles to avoid being fired over an embarrassing pub photo taken years ago. I'm one of the old guard without so much of my life online, but this might not be such a positive prospect for the younger "everything online" generation. In a competitive job market there will be even more scope for recruiters to filter applicants by arbitrary criteria related to their online presence rather than by their actual skills or experience.

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