In my opinion, one of the nicest features of social media is the "web of support" one can develop. Today, I'm pleased to share with you the story of Brian Ward, a college classmate of mine whose innovative job search was just written up by Time MagazineHeadshot_bigger.

Brian recently found himself joining the ranks of the unemployed. As a father of three and primary breadwinner, Brian knew he had to act fast. He landed on his feet fast: ultimately receiving a job offer in only 11 days through a lead from a former colleague on Facebook.

As a career counselor and resume writer, I view this as an "extreme happy outcome" and one which cannot be expected in every search. After all, for most job seekers,  the search is a process--not a transaction. Ultimately, where you choose to work is a mutually selective process: you pick your employer and your employer picks you. Pick the wrong job and you'll end up spending your days humming the Avenue Q song "For Now" instead of whistling while you work. Brian got lucky--he found his match early, and he found a match that aligned with his skills and interests.

Putting the role of good fortune aside, Brian made five smooth moves that helped luck play in his favor:

  1. He developed strong relationships before he needed them. Brian and I became re-acquainted on Twitter last fall. He demonstrated an interest in my work long before his layoff, and we exchanged a few quick messages that went beyond the standard LinkedIn "I'd like to add you to my network invitation."

  2. He reacted to his layoff by admitting what he didn't know. Before Brian widely publicized that he had lost his job, he researched how to present his skills. He credits a LinkedIn video from Lewis Howes for helping him develop a strong online profile.

  3. He carefully crafted his message before going mainstream. Armed with suggestions from friends in the industry and expert advice, Brian created a consistent online presence across multiple platforms from LinkedIn to Facebook and Twitter.

  4. He was clear about what he was looking for, but he recognized the answer may come from an unlikely source. Brian's strategy included a clear call for help (this is what I'm looking for) and an expansive approach (he expanded his membership in LinkedIn groups to include indirect business affiliations, such as his college fraternity).

  5. He kept his friends and contacts in the loop during his search, and thanked them regularly. By updating his community, Brian let others know of his progress--and how he could help them in return.

You can read how this helped Brian in Time; he hopes his story will help others land on their feet, too. I'm an active proponent of these strategies and can help you position for a new opportunity in your chosen field, too. Follow me on Twitter, become a regular reader of this blog, and let me know how I can help.

To your success,