Penelope Trunk

You shouldn’t outsource your social networking, says Penelope Trunk, even partially. She should know: not only have her columns and blog become popular sources of career advice, but she’s written a book, launched a startup, and built a personal network that has helped her succeed.

Social Networking is a Must

“Saying that networking is time-consuming is totally ridiculous — you never hear someone say that I don’t have time to manage my money.” Without a network, Trunk says that you’re unemployable. That said, she does offer a recommendation for focusing on the most beneficial part of social networking: being kind to those you encounter. Trunk has spent hours online, finding people to connect with and seeing what she could do to help them out and build a long-term connection.

Finding the Right Tools

Trunk didn’t use any unusual tools to do so, either: she routinely sent out emails. “I’m better in writing — in email, instead of over the phone,” says Trunk. She recommends that you shouldn’t let the tools guide you. New tools aren’t necessarily better, and can in fact be harmful to your ability to get things done.

Instead, Trunk recommends looking at people who are in similar situations — or are in the situation you want to be in. She says, “Know who you want to be like.” That allows you to mimic their tools and avoid re-inventing the wheel. For Trunk, managing email takes a lot of time. She took a look at who was in the same boat. “Just look at what Gina Trapani or Guy Kawasaki do. They have the same email problems.”

A New Tool: Brazen Careerist

Not all tools work for everyone, a fact that Trunk is particularly well acquainted with in her startup. As she wrote about career advice, Trunk realized that there are major differences in the tools Generations X and Y need to manage their careers. She noticed that Generation X was able to use LinkedIn effectively, but members of Generation Y tend to have less-set resumes than their older counterparts. While many Generation Y members use Facebook for networking it’s very difficult to use the site professionally. That fact lead to Trunk’s startup, Brazen Careerist.

Brazen Careerist just completed a relaunch that will help its members network, as well as promote their careers. Tools go beyond LinkedIn’s resume-based format: while Brazen Careerist does allow members to post a resume, it also helps them bring together their efforts on other sites, such as a personal blog of Twitter — building an overall presence that shows what they’ve accomplished in their careers, whether or not their resumes showcase their abilities and ideas.