As a freelance professional whose search for a full-time position recently shifted into high gear, I picked up four books to provide insight and tips for making this transition. Despite their recent copyright dates, three of them (Get The Job You Want, Even When No One's Hiring: Take Charge of Your Career, Find a Job You Love, and Earn What You Deserve, Unlock the Hidden Job Market: 6 Steps to a Successful Job Search When Times Are Tough and Cracking The Hidden Job Market: How to Find Opportunity in Any Economy) were mindnumbingly myopic in their approach to networking -- glossing over or completely ignoring social networks and advocating instead for press-the-flesh interactions almost exclusively. I don't know the world in which the authors live, but the overworked full-timers I know don't have 15 minutes for a cup of coffee with someone they've never met. In fact, I asked roughly a dozen full-time employees how they would respond to a request for a short coffee meeting, and all of them said they had neither the time nor the inclination.
Contrast that with the advice that Diane Crompton and Ellen Sautter put forth in "Find a Job Through Social Networking." They outline the benefits of being online and having a social networking presence. They explain how to market yourself online and ensure your identity is what you want it to be (and how to fix it if it isn't). They urge you to cultivate a full-service network populated with STARS: strategists, targets, allied forces, role models and supporters. Incidentally, most of the employees I asked the coffee meeting question said they'd be receptive to facilitating a LinkedIn introduction when given a polite, well-thought-out request.
The authors cover the biggies -- LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter -- as well as XING, Ryze, Viadeo, Ecademy and others. The book doesn't mention BranchOut, but given the service's newness and fledgling status, that's not unexpected.
Now that I've finished the book, I'm working through the action items that I had noted as I worked my way through. I haven't felt this energized or empowered since reading Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry's Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0: 1,001 Unconventional Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Landing Your Dream Job (Paperback) last year, when my job search was more passive. Crompton and Sautter know their stuff, and they've written a winner for the modern-day job hunter here.