When it comes to your job search, networking is the fiercest tool in your arsenal. No other technique even comes close. Why? For starters, many job openings are not ever advertised. New openings are discussed at the coffee machine and spread by word of mouth. People will ask around the office if anyone knows anyone with the qualifications for the open role. A memo might be posted directing people to submit resumes to Human Resources. It is by networking and knowing people that you gain access to these unadvertised jobs.
Secondly, networking gives you the opportunity to develop personal relationships, which are always key when it comes to making hiring decisions. It makes sense – who would you rather bring in for an interview – the associate of someone you already know, like and trust or someone you only know from a paper resume? Networking helps make sure you’re on the short list when it come to filling open jobs.
Where to network? How about everywhere. Check websites and local papers for networking events in your community. Look for gatherings of people in the field you wish to be in, including trade associations and clubs. You can even network at social events, just keep in mind that people are there for a different reason so your approach will have to be more casual. You can really network anywhere if done right.
Since unemployment is not the easiest thing to discuss professionally or socially, keep it positive regardless of your circumstances. Talk to people about what they do and what you do. Highlight your specialties and what you are looking for in the next step of your career. Know what one thing they can do to help you and be ready to tell them if they ask.
You can add that if they don’t know of anything now, just to keep you in mind. That means they’ll need a way to get a hold of you, so be sure to have some attractive business cards printed up with your contact information. By getting this information out about you, you are recruiting others to help with your search. You are no longer looking alone.
Keep in mind networking can be a process because people like to really know people that they recommend for a job. Invest the time. If your resume comes with the endorsement of someone on the inside, you will be strongly considered for the job. Make sure you’re leveraging the power of networking when it comes to your job search.