How to Use Social Media to Stay Unemployed in 3 Dreadful Steps

This post originally appeared on the Business Journals site

LinkedIn is a great networking tool and I use it all the time. In fact I received the following via LinkedIn two weeks ago. I present it here word for word, only changing the sender's name to protect the innocent (or, in this case, the guilty).

Pop Quiz: How many flaws can you find in Randy's approach? The following was sent to hundreds of Randy's LinkedIn connections:

"I elected to communicate my immediate need homogenously to anyone who might be the source of my next opportunity. My objective is still a position in which my unique combination of business-building skills plugs in directly and supports those of the CEO of a $5 to $20 million company.

My priority, though, is to secure a position in the next two weeks that will enable me to bring my family from Dallas during the second week of June. This overrides the objective! My need is urgent.

Please let me know what I can do to make this happen. We can talk on the phone or meet if that will help direct thoughts on which of the people you know could benefit from someone adept in problem solving, dispute resolution and creative solutions. I appreciate your considering this very important request."

Flaw Number 1:

While I applaud Randy's effort to let his network know that he is looking for a job, this is desperate and thoughtless. No recipient wants to be the "source of my next opportunity." They want to be talked to like a person.

If I were standing in front of Randy, he might have started with something like, "I'm sorry for the impersonal approach, but I could really use your help." As a rule, I don't recommend these broadcasts and the odds of this one generating a meaningful result are slim to none.

Flaw Number 2

Randy's job search goal is squishy, selfish, and unrealistic. In my book, Cut the Crap, Get a Job, I spend an entire chapter on the definition of a good goal and bad goal. And nobody should be job searching without a great goal statement that you can articulate to virtually anybody including friends, recruiters, and your network.

Randy's goal is missing the single most important ingredient: WHAT FUNCTION? Does Randy want to be a Chief Executive Officer or an Executive Administrative Assistant? Or is he a sales manager or operations manager?

Another flaw in the goal: his use of "my unique combination of business-building skills..." This is not about you, Randy! His goal should state what he can do for somebody else. And I have no idea what "business-building skills" are!

Finally, "supporting the CEO of a $5 to $20 million company." So we, the recipients, don't know what type of function or what industry, but we have a very narrow definition of the size of Randy's target company. He would be better off saying "small to medium business."

Flaw Number 3

The close of Randy's mission-critical request is very weak. Again, we hear a squishy description of "someone adept in problem solving, dispute resolution and creative solutions." Not helpful for me, as a possible source. However, even worse, the ending has no "call to action" or next step for the recipient. "Please let me know what I can do to make this happen." Make what happen?

I get it. Making this type of request is awkward, humbling and Randy is clearly desperate. However, imagine if Randy ended his blast with, "Please reply to this letter with any one of the following so I can get in touch with you:

Do you know of any open positions or any hiring managers I should contact now?
Do you have any favorite sources of open positions you can send me to? (Groups, associations, etc.)
Would you like me to contact you to provide any additional information?

Millions of employed and unemployed people are networking for their next career move. Don't be Randy.
Dana Manciagli
Dana Manciagli> website | all articles
Dana Manciagli, called "a combination of Jillian Michaels and Suze Orman for careers," has been a corporate executive for more than 30 years and has leveraged her employee hiring and management experience into that of author, blogger, keynote speaker, career coach, and global career expert. She is the author of Cut the Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process for a New Era.

Dana has had a remarkable career in global sales and marketing roles in Fortune 500 corporations. Recently retired from a decade's tenure at Microsoft as worldwide sales general manager, Dana previously worked for Kodak as VP of worldwide marketing and climbed the corporate career ladder through Sea-Land, Avery Dennison, and IBM. She also helped grow a fast-growing technology start-up from early stage to IPO and sale of the company.

Dana has coached, interviewed, and hired thousands of job seekers. As a result, she has developed a proprietary job search and networking process. Her ideas and techniques are proven to be as effective for college graduates as for senior executives. Dana has presented her concept at hundreds of career-centric and corporate events and is a prolific writer on the subject. She is a sought-after speaker and a regular contributor to print and online publications.

Named a top "Women of Influence" in Seattle, Dana lives and works in Puget Sound where she serves on the Worldwide Board of Junior Achievement. She is also a breast cancer conqueror, received her MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, and speaks fluent Spanish. Dana shares her life with Mathis, is immensely proud of her two grown sons, Shane and Chad, and loves to golf and travel the world.