They say in job hunting, who you know can mean all the difference. For that reason, networking to find a job is an excellent way to spend your time. Like most things in life, however, quality is better than quantity, so creating a networking plan to help identify where you need to focus your efforts will help you find better results by cultivating effective working relationships with the people who are most able to improve your business life. These networking tips will help you refine and improve your job networking to yield effective results.
Table of contents
- – Networking can actually help expand your network
- – Invest in business cards for planned and unexpected networking opportunities
- – Sign up for LinkedIn and other social networking sites
- – Make a list of potential contacts and keep track of leads
- – Networking is a good chance to share your successes
- – Update your online profile and join discussion boards and niche sites
- – Networking is not a job request
- – Networking is a great way to get your CV reviewed
- – Always listen carefully during a networking opportunity
- – Recognise the efforts of your contacts
1. Networking can actually help expand your network
While networking introduces you to a handful of people in your industry, it can open the doors to you meeting even more people. You see, if every one of your contacts introduces you to their contacts, your network can increase exponentially. It’s always a good idea to accept introductions when offered to you, even if they are from a different industry. Increasing the number of contacts in your network could lead to a connection that is in your industry and a potential role in a company.
2. Invest in business cards for planned and unexpected networking opportunities
The best and easiest way to meet people is through referrals and by attending social networking events but sometimes it’s an unplanned meeting that can lead to big rewards. Whether you are formally introduced or you just happen to strike up a conversation with someone in a grocery store, a business card is a great way to take that meeting to another level. Keep business cards in your purse or wallet to hand out anytime an opportunity presents itself. It will make a professional impression and gives you the best chance to be contacted with job leads.
3. Sign up for LinkedIn and other social networking sites
Social media is an easy and effective way to network and get noticed without ever leaving your home or office. The number of contacts you can connect with is endless. This includes LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and more. It’s a good idea to devote some time out of your day to read social media posts and comment on topics that are part of your industry. Comments make a good conversation starter and make your presence known. You can even take it further and join groups and participate in webinars and other discussions to make valuable connections.
4. Make a list of potential contacts and keep track of leads
As your contact list increases, it’s a good idea to have a master list. That way, you don’t unwittingly reach out to a contact for a second time. It’s also a good way to keep track of leads and what contacts they originated from. Jotting down the contacts, helps you evaluate the quality of your contacts. In other words, it’s not the quantity of contacts but the quality. Once you have your list of quality contacts, keep track of all interactions with them so you do not repeat emails or forget important details. Your networking efforts are only as strong as the results. Keep track of not just your efforts, but also the payoff you get from them. If a contact consistently offers to help but does not follow through, refocus your efforts elsewhere.
5. Networking is a good chance to share your successes
The goal of networking is to meet a contact that may offer you your dream position in the future. Make sharing the key highlights of your career part of your networking. Offering advice or a solution to a contact’s issue will expand the conversation enough for you to get yourself recognised as an authority. Ease into the conversation by sharing your problem-solving.
6. Update your online profile and join discussion boards and niche sites
Your online presence is important and can assure you get noticed. It’s a good idea to review your online profiles to be sure you are presenting the latest and greatest information about yourself. Should someone on your contact list be made aware of a job opening and thinks of you, one look at your profile should be able to reinforce your qualifications and job status. The same holds true for a recruiter that relies on social media to seek out job candidates. Be active in online communities that centre around your career choice or area of expertise. Those fellow members can offer valuable insights and, with luck, job leads.
7. Networking is not a job request
While it may seem like an easy way to find a job, it’s advised not to directly ask contacts for a job. It is okay to discuss your current role and desire for a different role in the future but it should not come off as a desperate plea for a job opportunity. Networking should be more of a way to get industry information that could be a potential lead scenario. Build a meaningful relationship with a contact and see where that acquaintance may direct your future career.
8. Networking is a great way to get your CV reviewed
Once you build a communicative relationship with contacts from your industry, you know who are the best people to ask for career advice. This includes asking a contact or two, to provide a brief review of your current CV and cover letter. You are not asking the contact to rewrite your CV but instead, just to offer feedback. Perhaps your skills can be improved or you have outdated technical information that is hurting your image. While reading through your career history, the reviewer may inadvertently give you a prospective lead on a job without your asking for it.
9. Always listen carefully during a networking opportunity
You’ve heard the expression, “be seen and not heard” and that holds true for networking. Following the flow of the conversion but don’t monopolize the situation. Listen intently to the career advice being offered and allow the other person to finish speaking before intervening. Should the other person ask you a question, answer it comprehensively but not long-winded. If the opportunity arises, you can ask additional company or industry-related questions and once again, stop talking and listen to the answer.
10. Recognise the efforts of your contacts
A network needs to be nurtured just like any budding relationship. This includes showing recognition for and thanking network contacts that have gone the extra mile for you. Whether it was to introduce you to other contacts in your industry, inviting you to a seminar, reviewing your CV, giving you a job lead, or simply providing some sort of career advice, give thanks. Follow up in writing with a note of thanks or a token of gratitude; this encourages more of the same. You will be looked upon as appreciative by people in your network as opposed to someone that uses people to advance their career. Show your gratitude.
Networking is the best way to find a high-quality job in your career field, but successful networking requires a plan, consistent effort and tracking of results. By following these tips, you will increase the quality of your contacts and the results they gain you.