Knowing how to network effectively is one of the primary keys to getting a job fast. It’s a fact that many of the best jobs never get posted publicly. Yes, some of these are filled in-house by present employees who have been groomed for the job, but that’s not the case with all of them. Many are filled through informal networking paths, especially in smaller companies. The benefit is that there is no official candidate pool, and the timeline for hiring (if the manager finds the right person) is right now. In these situations, networking is the only way to getting hired.
When you think of networking, you probably picture informal face to face conversations and handshakes. Traditionally, this is how it’s been done, and it still works today. In fact, I coach people to understand that many of your working relationships won’t truly be established until you meet face-to-face.
When it comes to looking for employment, consider all the people you know and all the relationships you have.
sports teams (or fellow fans of a team)
college alumni association
coworkers, past and present
fellow church members
your kids’ friends’ parents
your doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant
Some possible paths to a new job are obvious, but the improbable happens too. Open up all lines of communication.
Online a whole world of networking opportunity is available to you through social media. If you’ve only dabbled in social media up until now, it will require a little work and time to get set up and growing your networks, but the payoff is well worth it.
The benefits are many. Recruiters can find you, you can establish your brand, you can make beneficial connections, and those hiring can see you’re up to speed with technology.
LinkedIn is considered one of the best career networking tools online. You must create a profile with your professional accomplishments, similar to a resume. You find and get found by others you already know in business and then others who want to connect with you based on your profile. You can see how your network web grows exponentially as your connection’s connections become your connections, and so on. For many professionals today, this may seem basic, but I’m always amazed by how frequently I meet people who haven’t set up their profile on this site, including many young people! Optimizing your profile is another article entirely, but if you haven’t set up your profile, just go get it done today!
Twitter can be used as a business tool or a social tool, but it’s best not to mix them. Join today, if you haven’t already, follow others in your professional field (the more the better if you’re job hunting), and build relationships by sending “tweets” or messages in 140 characters or less. You can also direct message people who follow you, and build relationships that way. It’s not a bad idea to let some of the better aspects of your personality show through, but know that anybody, including potential employers, can read your tweets. Be sure to tweet about what specific kind of job you’re hoping to find.
Facebook is another social media tool that is free to use. Again, it’s best not to use your profile for both business and personal. Create your profile as you would a resume, and consider that millions of people can potentially view it. Posting a picture of yourself, and make it a professional head shot if possible.
The basis of networking is building relationships that benefit both you and others. It’s not a one way street. The best time to establish these relationships is before you’re looking for a job, but it can be done after the fact too. Use networking, offline or online, to help you land that job before it gets posted to the public.