It’s no secret that the best opportunities never make it to the job boards. In fact, the very best jobs are never advertised at all – anywhere! They are filled by word of mouth. That’s why it’s so important to build up your networking muscles, so that you will be considered by top decision-makers when one of these jobs becomes available.
Effective networking can make a huge difference in your job search. Whether you are hooking up with them in person, via phone, or through the Web, the key is to build a strong network of contacts that are in the position to help you connect with the next opportunity on your personal career ladder.
Here are some tips for building and leveraging your network for job search success:
Make a List – Wherever you are in your career, chances are you know a lot more people with whom you can network than you realize. A good starting point is to sit down and list them all. Include family members, friends, former colleagues and classmates. Don’t forget to include people you know in your personal social circle, from church or the local softball league, for example. Be sure to list the professionals in your life, such as your attorney or doctor. Even casual acquaintances can be helpful. Is your son’s best friend’s dad an executive? Put him down, too. You never know where a helpful referral or recommendation may come from. Segment your list based on your relationship with each individual.
Get LinkedIn – If you have not yet established a presence on LinkedIn, you are already behind the proverbial eight-ball. In recent years, the business networking site has become the database for candidates for the vast majority of recruiters, both in-house and agency. Whether you are setting up a new LinkedIn profile, or sprucing up an existing one, the key is to take care and make it as perfect as possible. Take the time to develop your profile. Upload your resume and other helpful documents. Above all else, use discretion when inviting people to join your network or accepting others’ invitations. This is not Facebook. LinkedIn is a site for business networking. While you count your dental hygienist or old high school buddy amongst your Facebook friends, it may not be appropriate to include them in your LinkedIn profile.
Build Relationships – Just as in friendships, networking is dependent on reaching out and communicating with one another. It’s up to you to maintain contact with members of your network. Use every opportunity to keep them abreast of your job search or career aspirations. However, be careful not to be too heavy-handed or make a pest of yourself. If you happen upon a member of your network at a non-business social event, such as a neighborhood picnic, feel free to casually mention if you are looking for a job or open to new opportunities. Don’t monopolize the conversation or drone on endlessly, however.
Need help with your job search? Contact Daley and Associates. We offer superior recruiting and placement results, specializing in auditing and financial placement.