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Why is “networking” today’s most frequently used buzz word in the job search process?
- Approximately 70% of jobs are found through networking.
- Most jobs are filled by word-of-mouth and not from website postings.
- Knowing someone within the organization gets you in the door.
What exactly is networking and how do I do it? Networking is building relationships, and you already do it, but you probably don’t take advantage of it.
Here’s a quick personal example about how a friendly conversation led to effective networking.
My neighbor and I were chatting the other day, and he told me he applied for a job as an Industrial Security Rep at a particular company. I just happened to know two employees from that company: one present and one retired. I forwarded on my neighbor’s resume with a good word (because he’s a great worker), and next thing you know about seven people within the company have looked at the resume – two with hiring authority. My relationship with my neighbor put his resume in the right hands; hands of individuals who would not have seen it otherwise.
It’s really that simple, but the question is, “Are you making an effort to build your own network?”
6 Easy Steps to step up your job search game:
- Tell people you’re looking for a job: former managers, co-workers, friends, neighbors, any organizations in which you’re involved. Make a list of people you know and contact them. Don’t be shy about telling the grocery clerk, your workout partner and even your mail carrier about your job search.
- Join professional associations: every career field has them, from HVAC to Cosmetology and members like to take care of their own. Be sure to be an active participant and gather information from conversations, meetings and the website.
- Volunteer: talk about showing dedication to your career! Coordinators and directors take note of your effort here, and are very helpful with connecting you to real jobs with real pay.
- Follow-up on leads: even the most casual mention of a potential place of employment deserves some sleuth work. If someone mentions they heard about a particular company and/or an opening, see if they know just a bit more. If not, contact the company directly and make friendly inquiries. Your best professional voice counts here.
- Think laterally: try to expand your network outwards, beyond your comfort zone. Your initiative will pay off if you take risks. Even on vacation you’ll meet people who know people. Casually chat yourself up; it’s amazing how small the world really is.
- Patience is a virtue: don’t expect to land a job with the first person you talk to. Most people build their networks over a lifetime, so starting yours today isn’t too soon.
Are you on social media? Okay. That was a stupid question. Of course you are because you’re reading this! But do you take your relationship with those “friends” to the next level (i.e. message them privately to let them know about your job search)? You don’t? Why not, they’re friends, aren’t they? Simply put, this is how it’s done. Once you start making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships, you’re networking.
Here are 3 Easy Ways to Keep Track of your Networking Progress:
- Keep good records of who you meet and the conversations you’ve had – there’s no point building a network of contacts that you then forget.
- Stay in regular touch even when you’re not after anything specific.
- Send a thank you note to anyone who made an effort on your behalf to further your job search. It’ll make them happy to do it again for you in the future. I’ve said it before – it’s the small things in life that count most.
To succeed you must develop new relationships and maintain current ones. Whether you like it or not, finding work takes work, but the benefits of networking allow you to:
- Learn dynamics within your industry
- Establish your business contacts
- Get “plugged in” to your community
- Seek new career opportunities
- Encourage win-win relationships
- Increase your referral networks
- Advance your professional development
- Develop additional resources
Relationships are the catalyst for success because people do business with those they like and trust.
Start building your network and you create contacts to help with your current employment needs and in your future job hunting endeavors.