As I've started my new job, one of the things people ask is, "How did you get this job?" It's of particular interest to people who know my background - I haven't exactly been training to become a product manager. And didn't I leave chemical engineering a while back?
I already covered the details of the job itself, but how did I get there?
This is where social networks come to play. I was recommended for the position by "Joe" with whom I interacted five years ago. He was in the sales organization for AspenTech, and he knew my skills and capabilities with the software from those interactions. But five years is a long stretch to bring someone to mind for an opening today.
What happened? My social network, of course. And in this case, LinkedIn gave me a boost. I had re-connected with "Joe" via LinkedIn several months ago, and we exchanged some "what's up" email. As it turns out, the position I have had been announced close enough to our re-introduction that he had me in mind. In other words, LinkedIn gave Joe and I a reason to remember each other, and that coincided with another event that made Joe put me together with the job that appeared.
This is one thing that all these tools do: provide awareness. I blog about something and several weeks later one of my readers makes the connection. I mention something on Twitter, and Ed knows that I'm available (and not working) and gives me a ring. I post something to my Facebook status, and people notice. Facebook mentions that it's my birthday, and my friends leave me wishes. I notice something in their profile that reminds me of something I could give them.
Social networking tools give me awareness of what you are doing, what you might need.