Whether you are just starting your job search, or you have been job hunting for a while, it should not come as a surprise that networking is a necessary component of your search. I say that knowing full well that for some people, especially those who are just starting out, it is a surprise. Many job hunters mistakenly think that they can be successful by submitting dozens of job applications a day while sitting in front of their computers still in their pajamas. Surely if you are diligent in applying for enough different jobs, something will stick…right?
That logic would work if it weren't the case that only 20% of the jobs that are being filled today are being filled by job applications that miraculously make it through the maze of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and land on someone's desk. It can happen, certainly, but the facts speak for themselves. You limit your possibilities of finding opportunities if you never leave the house. I hate to break it to you, but the Job Fairy isn't going to come looking for you while you lounge around the house. The hard, cold fact is that to be successful at this job search game, you have to get out of the house, and you have to network. It isn't enough just to show up at a networking event, however. You must show up prepared to present your “A-game." You must dress the part; you must be approachable and personable. Dare I say it? You must do your best to be charming and memorable! You need to be prepared to say succinctly what it is that you do in a way that the people with whom you speak will remember you. If they hear of an opening that isn't a good fit for them but might be a perfect fit for you, you want to have left a positive impression.