Women shaking hands and networking. Jobseeker’s Guide to Networking Your Way to Your Next Job

The “tried and true” path of networking is still the most successful way to find your next position—anywhere from 40-80% of job placements are attributed to networking. This guide to networking will help you identify who is in your network and how to use these connections to find your next job.

Build Your Network Before You Need It

The single biggest mistake most job searchers make is not asking for help from their network. People want to help you—so let them! Don’t wait until you’re out of work to start developing relationships with your network. As author Harvey Mackey says, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” 

Who Is Your Network?

The first step is to identify who is in your network. If you don’t already have a list, start one! Check out my blog post, Activate Your Network – The Best Job Search Database!, to build your network list! 

You can also brainstorm contacts you need to make. Write your desired job target, a list of possible employers, and then list people you know who can connect you.

Here are some more opportunities to develop your network:

  • Attend networking events 
  • Work as a volunteer. 
  • Participate in an online community. 
  • Contact your alumni groups. 

How to Use Your Network

The more specific you are about what you need or are looking for, the more likely you are to get what you want. Use your network contact to make an introduction to a hiring manager—either asking them to pass along your resume to that individual, introducing you directly, or allowing you to use their name when making an initial contact. 

Technology and Networking

Social media can also be effective for helping you achieve your networking goals. You can let your network know you are looking for a new position by posting status updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. LinkedIn is particularly effective in helping you take your existing contacts and leverage them into even more networking opportunities by showing you how you’re connected to a company or another individual. 

Informational Interviewing

Get to know people who can help you find your next job—not just the hiring managers, but the people who know those people. Ask for the opportunity to meet with them to learn more about a specific company, opportunity, or industry.

Consider contacting members of the professional associations to which you belong. Your colleagues can be a tremendous asset in helping you find unadvertised opportunities. Email them asking for their help and assistance. You want contact names and numbers, ideas, and company information. Be sure to ask if you can mention their name to “get in the door” with their contacts to arrange an informational interview.

Keys to Success

Do you wonder why some people are more effective using networking to find their next job? Here are some keys to success in using networking in a job search:

  • Prepare for networking. Have business cards made that are strictly for networking. 
  • Follow up. If a networking contact gives you advice, a lead, or information, follow up on that information — and then also get back to that person to let them know how it went.
  • “Give to Get.” By helping people who ask you for assistance, your network will be stronger when you need it.

When You Get Your New Job

Heed the advice of author and networking pro, Harvey Mackey: “A network replaces the weakness of the individual with the strength of a support system. You don’t have to know everything as long as you know the people who do.”

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