How a Pro Uses Social Media

A few months before his company announced a merger, B. Lee Jones began building a network of contacts in case of a possible transition. In a matter of months, Jones, a 58-year-old CIO of a midsize, multinational company in Silicon Valley formerly known as Stratex Networks, amassed a whopping 500 connections on Linked-in, one of the largest social media networks.

The transition to job seeker didn’t catch him flat-footed. “A month ago, I hadn’t solicited any recommendations,” from friends or colleagues, Jones explains, “today I have eighteen.” And he’s sent several hundred invitations – mostly to strangers such as executive recruiters and HR executives. “That way I had a pipeline [of contacts] when I was ready to make a change.”

Jones, who says he is fluent in seven languages and conversational in sixteen, would like to find a job with global responsibilities. But, at the moment, he’s exploring all channels in search of the best opportunity. He’s checking job boards, talking to executive recruiters, placing calls and sending e-mails to colleagues, but mostly he prefers social media because it enables him to take action without relying upon others.

Just this week he kicked his job search into a kind of social media hyper-drive. First, he saw a job listing he liked on Yahoo! HotJobs.  ”I did some research about the company,” he says, seeking answers to questions such as “where are they, what do they do, how long have they been around?  Who is the existing person in the position?”

You won’t be surprised to learn that Jones was able to browse the Linked-in profile containing the incumbent job holder’s background and qualifications. Next, he saw that the target company’s VP of HR was also on Linked-in – but she hadn’t posted her e-mail address. “I did some research on Google to figure out the company’s e-mail scheme, which was firstname.lastname@companyname.com,” he says. He sent the VP of HR an e-mail, requesting to add her as a Linked-in connection and expressing interest in the job.  She quickly replied to Jones, urging him to apply for the position. Jones promptly e-mailed her a copy of his résumé and then posted his résumé to the company’s website in keeping with corporate protocol.

Jones’ fluency with social media may impress or confound some employers. The right company for him, he adds, will be “somebody who needs and will appreciate that kind of tenacity.”