Nothing happens, unless we make them happen. If you are looking for a job, it’s imperative that you network your way to a job. However, networking doesn’t just happen, you need to be active in your efforts and make sure you get out and meet the right people. Explore how to network your way to a job.

Young smiling  business woman and business man

Written by Catherine Adenle

If you haven’t noticed, competition for all advertised jobs is fierce these days. One advertised job posting generates loads of applications from thousands of skilled and qualified candidates. This in turn means that employers can cherry-pick from a pool of potential candidates.

Finding a job takes more than just searching job sites and sifting through Newspaper ads. Creating the time to network your way to a job is important. It is tempting for you and many others to be anti-social job seekers who would rather tap away at your smartphones or iPads than strike up a conversation.

To network your way to a job, you need to connect with people at work, social functions, job fairs, conferences, online or at any gathering. Frankly, networking could be what you need to land that new job. However, if like some people, networking doesn’t come naturally to you, this article can help you to successfully network your way to a job.

To network your way to a job effectively, these are the steps to follow:

Know that networking opportunities are everywhere!

“Networking happens everywhere,” says Eric Winegardner, Vice President at Monster Worldwide. You can network wherever and whenever you find people.

For most job seekers, networking to find employment means attending job fairs and talking to prospective employees. Job fairs serve a purpose, but they’re not the only networking venue you need to be. It could be as simple as going to the book store or the garden centre. Parties and weddings are just the tip of the iceberg; don’t forget about airplane rides, supermarket lines and exhibitions.

Nothing happens, unless we make them happen. Networking doesn’t just happen, you need to be active in your efforts and make sure you get out and meet people. You can start in bite size form by learning how to talk to some people you meet at business meetings, trainings, and conferences.

Have a networking strategy

To network your way to a new job, you need to have an elevator speech explaining who you are, what you do, and practice enough that it rolls off your tongue. Make sure that you allow yourself to consistently meet new people. By so doing, you will learn from others about your industry, profession, and the companies you’re interested in. Always think about networking as part of your career or next job strategy. Remember your 3Fs – Friends, Family and Fools. They are the most obvious groups, these are people who probably like you because they either have to, or they just do!

Networking only works if you put yourself out there and start talking to people. Let your guard down a bit, relax, smile and be aware of what your body language communicates.

Networking is a two-way thing, give and share as much as you get

It’s not just about you networking your way to a new job. Don’t just take, but be prepared to share your knowledge with others too. Offer help to others, you’ll find them far more open to the idea of helping you down the road. Forming relationships built on trust will help you to be the person your contacts think of the next time they can find a way to help you. This will definitely help you to network your way to a job.

Go to networking events where you can meet and talk to people in the job or business that you are interested in. Perhaps take if further by offering to do some voluntary work or shadow them at work for a day or two.

Take advantage of free Social Media networking tools

Network your way to a job easily by connecting with people online. With all the free Social Media tools and sites on the Internet, it’s easy for a job seeker to get overwhelmed. The best networking site for you to join first and foremost is LinkedIn. There you can network with people who work at the company you’re interested in. On LinkedIn, know how to differentiate yourself while job hunting.

See 7 Ways to Make LinkedIn Help You Find a Job

Then use Twitter to micro-communicate with people, Facebook to stay in touch once you get to know people. The less obvious ones like Ning, Yahoo! Groups have their advantages too. Another word of caution here, be sure to keep things professional on these site if you are seeking employment. Be sure to also trust your instinct to follow or not to follow.
You can also choose the best networking sites for you from some of these 20 Social Networking Sites for Business Professionals.

See How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates [INFOGRAPHIC].

For more information also see Social Media: Making it work for you and An Introduction to LinkedIn: In Restrictions a Gold Mine

Believe it or not, many relationships start or flourish through social networking. According to a recent report from Nielsen, Americans now spend more time using social network sites more than ever. With social networking sites, you can research and connect with other professionals. While it’s true that face to face meetings solidify relationships, when it comes to networking, you cannot ignore the opportunity to carefully select who you are prepared to network with first. You can easily start by using a professional site like LinkedIn first.

Be proactive.

Go to networking events where you can meet and talk to people in the job or business that you are interested in. Perhaps take if further by offering to do some voluntary work or shadow them at work for a day or two.

It helps if you have a stack of business cards ready to hand out. Another word of caution though – you don’t want to be the headless chicken who works the room racing to collect and hand out your cards. Always wait until you have a conversation before you exchange cards. Being genuine works, so be prepared to ask plenty of questions of others, and keep in mind that you’re trying to help them first, not the other way around.

See How to Really Connect with People in Business Networking

Remain in touch.

To network your way to a job, you must stay in touch with the people you meet, like and respect them genuinely even if they can’t help you immediately. Remember that it’s not cool to go to someone only when you are desperate for something.

Always keep it positive.

I can’t stress this enough – if you have been looking for a job for a year or two, it’s easy to lose self-esteem because you’ve been rejected several times, and this can affect everything, including your networking skills. Remember, staying positive makes you approachable and memorable. You have to consider each networking event an opportunity to learn something new or meet someone interesting, so leave no room for negative vibes.

Networking your way to a job is not about the quantity but the quality. Don’t judge your networking power by the number of people you connect with but by how you gain, share and give any needed knowledge and information. What are your contacts doing for you and what are you able to give back.

In any case, sharpening your networking skills will serve you well throughout your professional career, especially when job searching. Ensure that you can also categorize your network into: mentors, sponsors, promoters, informers, advisors and experts.

See it’s all About Who You Know: Networking to Get a Job

Remember that networking takes time and relationships won’t develop overnight, so you have to be patient.

So, have you got any tried and tested tips on how to network your way to a job? Let’s hear from you.

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping you to explore your career at any stage.

One thought on “Network Your Way to a Job!

  1. This is a great article. More than ever, it’s about who you know more than your capabilities and experience. Know anyone in a position of authority in any organization, you will find it easy to secure a position there.

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