Whether you love networking or hate it, it’s still the #1 way to find a job. When someone says they heard about a job through so-and-so, or that ‘my job just fell into my lap,’ you know it happened through networking. If you’re in the job search, you need to know how to do this right so it exponentially boosts your opportunities.
Related: 7 Tips For Nailing Networking
Here Are 5 Essential Networking Tips Every Job Seeker Needs To Know Now:
1. Realize That Your Network Is Bigger Than You Think
A good, effective network isn’t just the people you work with or used to work with—it’s everyone you know. Past co-workers and bosses are great, but there’s a lot of potential in the people your spouse works with, your friends, your family, co-workers of your family and friends, parents of your child’s friends, your child’s teachers or coaches, your doctor, your accountant, or anyone you see regularly. I personally know one man who got a job through his barista (another coffee-loving customer happened to be looking for someone and she introduced them) and a woman who got a job through another mom at her son’s school PTO. The point is, you never know where that job lead may come from, so explore ALL of your options.
2. Contact Your Current Network Regularly (Even When You Don’t Need To)
The best way to keep a network ‘fresh,’ so that you can tap into it when you need it is to feed it when you don’t need it. One great way to do this is every 3-6 months, send an email or a direct Facebook or LinkedIn message to everyone you know. You can do this as a big project, or set it up to do a few every day. The point is to touch those contacts on a regular basis. You don’t have to have a reason, or say anything profound—just say hi. Let them know what you’re doing. Send them something they may be interested in, like a link to an article or a book recommendation. Let them know that if they need anything, you are ready to assist. This is the basis for the healthiest kind of network—the give and take. You scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours.
3. Always Be Growing Your Network
When you meet people at work events, get their email or LinkedIn URL and add them to your routine. As you join LinkedIn groups, participate in discussions and make thoughtful comments as a first step toward asking them to connect with you.
4. Offer Help Whenever You Can
Helping others where you can builds up a lot of goodwill that you can draw on when you need it. Plus, if you’ve helped someone, it can make you a lot more comfortable when it’s time to ask for that help. Make a point of sending others interesting news or article links (as discussed above), and let them know that if there’s anything you can help them with, you’d be happy to.
5. Be Honest With Your Network
People can’t help you if you don’t ask. If you’re job searching, tell everyone in your network so they know to keep an eye out for you. We all like to help others if we can, especially if it’s as easy as letting you know about a job opening or giving you someone’s name to contact. Let them help you.
Learn how to network like a pro! Read Networking Effectively: How to Build Your Network for Career Success, available on Amazon.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
About the author
Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
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