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A Strong Professional Internet Presence–Why? (Part 1)

I think everyone agrees that the real U.S. unemployment rate is at roughly 18 percent if those that are underemployed and still looking for a more appropriate position and those that have become frustrated in their job search and have given up looking for now are added to the official U.S. unemployment rate of 10 percent. On second thought, perhaps the politicians may not agree touting the recession is over, yet if you are like 15 million Americans, you are starting 2010 unemployed or underemployed and looking for a job. Even many of those whom are employed have polished their resumes the last few months being proactive and prepared if necessary. Yet, thank goodness business goes on in the U.S. in a recession or not. Those that are employed and those that are business owners are marketing their products and services and always looking to increase their customer base. And in the midst of the highest unemployment rate in decades, many college students are still going to be looking for internships to gain some needed work experience for their first official resume to begin their after graduation job search. There will always be entrepreneurs that start their own business in any economic climate.

Many have turned to the Internet as a vital tool in their job search. The career type websites have exploded the last few years with job listings and job seeker sign-ups. As anyone whom is using many of these career and job sites can tell you, this is a good thing and allows easy access for companies looking to hire and for job seekers looking to get hired. Yet, the job seekers will also tell you, the majority of the job postings are often already filled shortly after being posted or the positions are being filled with candidates that fit the “exact” keyword criteria listed with no room for transferable skill sets from industry to industry or face-to-face opportunities for job seekers to sell themselves as an asset to a particular company. Even in the age of numerous career websites, professionals know the majority of positions to be filled at the majority of companies are not listed on a job website.

Most people are familiar with the old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know in getting a job.” There is some truth to this for the most part whether it seems fair or not and whether we like it or not. You may not get a chance to discuss what you know in an actual job interview unless a person you know tells you about an open position at a company. This saying is also true many times for companies looking for client contracts. A strong professional network is valuable to everyone whether they are looking for a job, looking for an internship, looking to enter the work force for the first time out of college, or looking for clients for their new or existing business. Everyone in the business world knows this, yet many outside of the white-collar world may not invest in this point for themselves. This is a mistake.

Anyone in any industry at any employment level will benefit from developing a professional network. Professional networking will always be an imperative element to a successful job search if you are unemployed or an increased professional image and capital if you are employed. This is true whether you are in college, just out of college, at entry level, a mid-level manager, or a senior level professional. It is true whether you are blue collar, white collar, green collar, or no collar. It is never too early or too late to start professional networking. Everyone you meet is a potential network possibility whether online or in person.

Many job seekers and client seekers are turning to social media networking as a strong professional tool. This is smart and forward thinking for not only those looking for a job, but for those understanding a strong Internet presence is a professional plus in general in 2010. If you are like 42 percent of Americans you are on a social networking site and if like 19 percent of Americans you are on Twitter. Facebook touts 100 million profiles. Twitter touts 1.3 million plus users. Facebook and similar social networks along with Twitter can be useful as a professional Internet presence overall, but they are generally more socially focused than all professional social networks like LinkedIn. LinkedIn, and similar all professional social networks, focus on professional only networking and is designed for and dedicated to professional profiles and interaction. There are several all professional websites with LinkedIn being the most significant at this time. LinkedIn touts 55 million users.

If used correctly, LinkedIn or any all professional networking website is a serious and important business tool that can help you achieve your professional goals. It can be the start of or enhancement of your professional Internet presence and your professional networking. It allows you to cultivate specific industry contacts and participate in common interest groups and discussions. The smart job seekers are concentrating on including LinkedIn as a part of their professional networking. The smart professionals use their LinkedIn profile to increase their professional public presence to compete more effectively in today’s most competitive business environment. The smart company participates in LinkedIn to increase their branding network and talent acquisition. As LinkedIn describes use of their site, it is for professionals “to exchange information, ideas, and opportunities.”

With potential customers, professional contacts, and potential employers going to the Internet as a part of their due diligence, a strong professional Internet presence is significant for everyone in 2010 to increase their favorable possibilities factor. In my next three article posts, I will be offering more detail on the topic of “A Strong Professional Internet Presence”:

Part 2 – Your LinkedIn Profile is Your Resume PLUS To Employers, Contacts & Customers

Part 3 – Getting the Most “Professional Internet Presence” From LinkedIn

Part 4 – Cultivating Your Overall “Professional Internet Presence”

(Note: I am not affiliated with LinkedIn or benefit personally from profiling their site. I do personally use LinkedIn and have found it to be the best of the professional social networks in my personal social media research.)

And keep in mind with all professional interactions whether online or in person; the best strategy for any business proposition or networking tool is to thoughtfully and purposefully give to others as much as you take.