Networking is one of those concepts that makes a lot of people nervous. Most people dread the thought of introducing themselves to new people who may help them in their job search process. Reaching out to people you already know is not much better, especially if you feel like you are using them by asking for a favour.
But not all networking activity is awkward and uncomfortable. Let’s get a few networking fundamental right first.
- Networking is a 2 way street. Someone helps you out today and you help them out later. It’s easier to ask for help when you know the relationship is about give and take.
- Always ask people for their opinion and advice, never ask outright for a job.
- People like to give advice and be recognised for their achievements and experience. It make them feel accomplished and successful.
- Always be specific about what you ask of people. Asking them to “give you a call if they hear of anything that might work for you” is a waste of time. It’s too vague and no one will call.
With all that in mind, let’s look at the ways you can network effectively during your job search process.
8 Surefire Networking Strategies for Job Seekers
- Gather Referrals
Make a list of everyone you know including family, friends, co workers, associates etc…
Let them know you are looking for a new role. “I have been with Company X for 3 years now and have decided it’s time to move on and expand my experience. I have X years experience in skill Y and Z and I am really hoping to secure a XX role in the Y industry. Be Specific!
Ask them if there is anyone in their network who may be able to assist you
- Join Useful / Relevant Groups
Look for any professional or industry bodies that you can join especially those who organise regular get together events.
Once you join, reach out to the people you meet especially via social media like LinkedIn
Again, state what you are looking for and ask if they can offer you any advice or if they know of anyone who can help you
- Volunteer and Help Charities
If you have the time, make a list of companies you would like to work with and contact them to see if they would like any volunteers.
Attend charity event and fund raisers. There are always people from every industry there. Try and get a list of attendees beforehand and target who you would like to meet and speak to.
- Optimise your LinkedIn Profile
Set aside some time each day or week to search LinkedIn for old friends and family you can reconnect with plus anyone in your industry or people with the same qualifications as you. Connect with these people online.
- Create a Digital Brand
When you are networking it’s not always easy to have a resume with you and pass it onto others. Create a digital resume or digital brand and refer people to your online brand for more information.
See our post – Digital brand creation using free software
- Reconnect With Old Friends & Coworkers
You can do this in person, by phone, text or on social media
Reach out to old work colleagues, college professors, old mentors, first boss, alumni contacts, clients, and any friends you have lost touch with.
Let them know you are looking for a role and ask for their advice.
- Reach Out to Head Hunters
In addition to all your active networking you should reach on to key head hunters in your industry
Meet with one or two you think would help you and stay in regular contact with them
Follow as many head hunters as you can online especially via LinkedIn
- Get A Partner
Everyone feels better with a wingman. Find a friend, coworker or new connection who is also job hunting in your industry
Attend social events and professional organisation events together and work the room
It is often easier to do this with another person than it is doing it alone
Consider a mentor, you will learn form them and benefit from their network of connections as well.
Not all networking is awkward, it os often harder in our minds because we think we are not good at meeting new people and hate asking for favours. Remember, ask for peoples advice and opinion and you will be surprised how many people are willing to help you.
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