Does anyone ever actually get a job through their network? The answer is a resounding YES! If you are willing to put the time and effort into building and maintaining your network, it will bring you results. Here are some tips that will help you build a network that will land you a job:
Be clear about your goals. Your network can open a lot of doors for you, but it can only help if you have a clear sense of the type of job you want. When you are specific about the position that you are seeking or the company that you want to work for, it is easier for the people in your network to find ways to help you.
Consider everyone you know as a networking contact. The best opportunities can come from the most unlikely sources. Sit down and make a list of all the people who you come into contact with. Make sure that you include family friends, the parents of your children’s friends, the lady who you always make small chat with when you are walking your dog, and anybody else with whom you’ve built a relationship. When you are chatting with these people, try to steer the conversation to your career. Let them know what you have done and what type of position you are seeking. Ask them about their career and see if there is any way that you can be of assistance to them. The best networking contacts are people who you have helped.
Have one coffee date a day. The key to effective networking is to be consistent with it. A little bit of effort each day is all you need to build a vibrant professional network. With networking, there is nothing more powerful than face-to-face meetings. When you make the time to meet individually with the people in your network, they are more likely to connect you to potential opportunities. Create a list of your networking contacts and schedule at least three coffee meetings a week (if not one a day). You may be surprised by how many doors these coffee meetups open for you.
Use social media to communicate. When used effectively, social media is a powerful tool for job seekers. You can use it to keep in touch with people in your network and even to build new relationships with people who work at your target companies. Social media is most effective if you are consistent in your efforts. Make a plan for what you want to achieve through social media and work on it a little bit each day.
Most job seekers shy away from networking, but it is the most effective way to find a job. If you are strategic in your efforts and you give back to your network, the people in your network can connect you with opportunities that you didn’t even know existed.
(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)