Networking is an essential ingredient in job search success. Here’s how you can make it work for you.
You’ve got a great resume, solid educational credentials and a track record of on-the-job achievements. By all appearances, you’re well on your way to landing a job offer from your choice of employers.
But not so fast . . . have you given any thought about how you’ll find out about the best positions when they come up? Or how you might get the inside track about what the employer is really looking for in their next hire?
For those things, you’ll need to network with other industry professionals. And one of the things you will quickly learn about networking is that it won’t just happen. Effective networking requires focus, effort and patience.
- Networking is a 24/7 activity. Unlike a resume or a cover letter, job search networking isn’t something that can be crossed off a to-do list. Why? Because you never know when a networking opportunity might present itself. The person sitting next to you at your kid’s basketball game could be a valuable contact in your job search, so you need to diligent and ready to network at a moment’s notice.
- Turnaround is fair play. At the end of the day, networking is about relationship building. Relationships are built on trust and reciprocity. If your job networking activities are limited exclusively to helping yourself, you will never tap into the benefits of a well-formed professional network. Whenever you can, help other people advance their careers and achieve their job search goals so they will be more willing to help you achieve yours.
- Use technology. Technology has completely revolutionized the way people connect with each other. Don’t believe us? Then consider this: your mom probably keeps tabs on you by following your activities on Facebook. If you haven’t embraced social media sites yet, get on the ball ASAP. Although you will need to make sure the content you post on your social media profiles is appropriate for employers, sites like Facebook, Twitter and most importantly, LinkedIn can dramatically improve your job search networking.
- Strategize. Prepare. Repeat. Good networking is a process. It begins by developing a strategy that targets key industry contacts who can help your job search. Once you have identified a target, you’ll need to prepare your approach and create an elevator pitch that quickly summarizes your qualifications and search objectives. After you have added the target to your professional network, the process repeats itself with a whole new slate of prospective contacts.