How do you pronounce this: idea list or ideal-ist? I don’t know. I’m sure they get it both ways.
Before I go on, when I say Idealist is #3, I don’t mean it HAS TO BE Idealist. That is perfect for a certain demographic. You should find the idealist in your own industry… once you do, here are the five things you would do to get value for your job search from a site like idealist:
- Meet people. Very similar to LinkedIn Groups (which are also niche-oriented), you should easily find people who you have a lot in common with. Find them, and start a relationship! Don’t just list them somewhere (best place to list them: JibberJobber). List them, and then start a conversation, and maintain and nurture a relationship during your career.
- Learn about your industry. Where else will you learn about industry-related current events than a site like this? Certainly not mainstream media. A couple of industry-related examples: RecruitingBlogs.com. If you are a recruiter, go there and learn and participate. YoungPRPros mailing list. If you are in PR, go there and learn and participate. The depth of current-events learning, and peer-to-peer idea sharing, is very powerful.
- Share your brand. You can participate in many ways to share your brand on Idealist, by posting various things to the entire network. This can be a powerful branding tool/strategy.
- Get inspired. It’s easy to feel like the sky is falling when you are in a lonely job search at your house, in your basement, on the computer (especially if you have been sucked into the resume black hole). By learning and reading and networking with your peers you should be able to feel like you are connected, plugged in, and still worth something. It’s easy to get discouraged in a job search and staying plugged into your industry can be invaluable. Remember, if your morale goes in the toilet, so do your job search results.
- Find “hidden” opportunities. In these tighter communities I’ve seen opportunities for contract positions, volunteer roles, and full-time gigs. This is one of the elements of the hidden job market. I’ve really been amazed at what I’ve seen shared in these forums, but people feel like it is a group of peers and colleagues and opportunities can be posted here before they are made known to the world through job postings.
Again, maybe idealist isn’t for you, but if you can find something like it (at the worst, it might be a LinkedIn Group, even if you have to start your own), it can be the most powerful networking environment you find online.
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