Study after study shows that networking is an effective way to uncover jobs that may not be advertised, get your resume referred into a company, and so forth. However, not all networking is created equally – so, let’s talk about what works and what does not:
- While online sites such as LinkedIn can get you networked to the right people, simply adding people to your contact list does not constitute networking. Use social media to let people know more about you by writing blogs, posting interesting articles in your field of expertise, joining groups and responding to questions they might pose. You are much better served if you use social media to research target employers, find out about potential networking events and connecting with people who can get your resume to the hiring manager.
- Networking is not reaching out to people to ask them to find you a job. People want to help but you have to give them something they can do such as asking for advice on how they conducted their job search (if relevant), asking them what they learned from their career transition, and etc.
- Find out about networking events that are targeted to your specific industry or skill set and get involved. If you attend an event in person, make sure you have business cards to hand out. Think about what you might talk about at an event. Do you know the latest trends in your industry? If you know that people from companies you are interested in are going to be there, have you done your homework and researched their latest news? One more thought: expect to be nervous – but don’t forget that other people are feeling the same way. If you do exchange business cards, send a follow-up e-mail the next day, referencing something you may have discussed with them. Add them to your electronic network.
- Have you thought about networking with your college Alumni? This is a great resource to make new connections or
- Follow companies you’d like to work for on Facebook and check their pages for career opportunities. Why not create a business Facebook page where you can expand YOUR network?
- Finally – remember networking is a two-way street – please don’t forget to stay in touch with people in your network after you have found a new job.