One cannot deny the power a strong professional network can have over your career success, especially when you’re in the middle of a job search. It is one of the most effective job hunting techniques and plays an important role in the job market. Career experts estimate that more and more positions are being filled without being advertised, through word-of-mouth or networking — known as the “hidden job market.” Nowadays, it takes more than your qualifications to speak for themselves through an anonymous resume. According to a recent survey by LinkedIn, 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. A survey conducted by Jobvite.com also indicated that 60% of employers’ best candidates are found through referrals. If you’re a job seeker here’s how networking can help you land that dream job.
Networking Tips to Help You Get Your Next Job
Get the word out – If you have an established set of networks then make sure that they are aware of the fact that you’re looking for a job. Your friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, and people in associations, basically anyone who might help generate information and job leads to turn you in the right direction. It is completely appropriate to mention casually in a conversation at a party or any type of gathering that you’re looking for a job and if someone knows about any opening it would be of much help. Accept all the invitations you receive because you never know when or where you end up meeting someone who can provide job search assistance. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask for introductions or recommendations to potential contacts.
Your best references or the people that you know and like you can endorse your abilities, track record, and character which will help you reach your goal faster. Contact your preferences, describe your goals to them, and seek their assistance. However, make sure to keep them informed on your job search progress otherwise you’d come across as rude and inconsiderate. Also, keep them in the loop for any call from your potential employers. Inform them about what happened and make sure to thank them for their help regardless of the outcome.
Use Social Media – Utilizing social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be a good way to get access to job openings way before they are listed elsewhere. According to various studies, 92% of companies are using social media for hiring—and that three out of four hiring managers will check out a candidate’s social profiles and 45% of Fortune 500 firms include links to social media on their career page sections. Amongst the top social networks, LinkedIn leads the way, favored by 93% of companies, ahead of Facebook (66%), and Twitter (54%). It is also noteworthy that (73%) of recruiters say that they have made successful hires through social media. Therefore, it is also important to delete any controversial content from your social media profiles so that hiring managers won’t come across them and drop you from the list of their potential employees. Also, keep your account squeaky clean, professional, and consistent and include your resume, and join groups to connect with other professionals.
Join the groups on LinkedIn that are active and where like-minded professionals share ideas around a specific field, company, or other topics of interest. Don’t forget to contribute to discussions or post new discussions. You can also start your own group. Similarly, creating your page to professionally promote yourself and connect with others on Facebook will help you grow your network. Social media can prove to be a great tool if used wisely.
Attend Career Fairs/Job Seminars – Attending a career fair or job seminar is a smart strategy for marketing yourself to potential employers. There, you can connect directly with recruiters and hiring managers from a wide range of companies, learning about them as they learn about you. Although, they can help you take the next step in your career if you aren’t prepared to successfully network you could be wasting your time. Therefore, you must go out of your way to make sure that you find success when attending a career fair. Do the appropriate research about the companies that you target so that you can ask specific questions about the job and company. This leaves a positive impression on the company’s representatives because it shows that you are interested in and took the initiative of doing the research.
Create your elevator speech to introduce yourself, dress appropriately; prepare your resumes, etc to stand out from the crowd. It is extremely important that you try to get a name or business card from anyone you talk to so you can use the name as a reference when you follow up. Also, hand out your own business cards to them. Make sure to follow up by sending a thank you note or thank you e-mail and mention that you talked with them, or a company representative, at the fair. Also, let them how excited you are about the position and how you can make a difference and add value to their company.
Find ways to reciprocate – It is vital to remember that successful networking is a two-way street. Although it’s tempting to focus exclusively on getting something effective networking requires “give and take.” It’s about providing value to the people in your life, therefore, send a thank-you note, ask the people in your network about their family, email an article you think they might be interested in, and check-in periodically to see how they’re doing. By nurturing the relationship through your job search and beyond, you’ll establish a strong network of people you can count on for ideas, advice, feedback, and support.
Take the time out and make the effort to build meaningful relationships with those in your professional circle, so when the time comes to search for work, you can tap into those valuable connections for referrals, insights into job leads, and other valuable information. Hope these Networking tips can open several doors of opportunities for you.