April 17, 2014

How To Network Your Way Into Your Next Job

Networking - A Man and a Woman's Hands Clasping Each OtherPhoto Courtesy: Smart Photo Stock

 

If you’re looking to the classifieds or online job boards for your next job, you may be looking in the wrong place. Many people find lucrative and satisfying positions through their network. Networks of friends, family, and colleagues can be an excellent source for finding and getting new jobs. People like to do business with people they know and like. Your next job could easily come from a relationship you already have.

 

Read on for more information on how to leverage your current network to find your future job.

 

Communication is Key

 

Unlike submitting a resume and cover letter, finding a job through networking requires you to speak to people one-on-one. If you are an extrovert, you may not find this task daunting. However, if you tend to be more introverted, you may wish to work on your communication skills beforehand.

If you find talking to people stressful, work on ways to manage your stress. Look for cues that suggest you are becoming stressed and take a few deep breaths. If you can, take a break outside or in a quiet place. Finally, take time before speaking to a contact to think about what you are going to say and practice it out loud. Doing a bit of preparation beforehand will make you feel much more confident in the moment.

 

Who Do You Know?

 

That rolodex of professional contacts is a great place to start when networking for a job, but don’t end there. Think of everyone you know – the person behind the counter at the post office, your children’s friends’ parents, and even personal friends. Any of these contacts could be your key to your next job.

If your personal contacts aren’t in your industry or don’t seem to provide you any job leads, you may want to consider attending an industry function. An industry-specific conference or trade show is the perfect place to meet others with similar interests and professions. You will not immediately find a new job with this type of networking, but people you meet now may be able to help you out later on down the road.

 

Keeping in Touch

 

Another way to networking your way into your next job is to keep in touch with your network. This can be done through email, social networking, by phone or even through an in-person meeting.

Even a small network will have too many people in it to keep in close contact, so part of maintaining your network is prioritizing. Make a list of the people in your network and pick out a few who are most crucial. These are the people who are most likely to link you up with a job. Keep in regular contact with them and cultivate a lasting relationship. Other members of your network can be prioritized by order of importance. Consider setting aside a time in your schedule every day to keep in touch with your list.

 

Have Fun

 

Job searching is often viewed as a tedious process. No one likes writing cover letters, but everyone likes spending time with people they enjoy the company of. Finding a job through networking is most successful when you have fun with it. Take your time and enjoy getting to know the people in your network. Build relationships with them instead of viewing them as tools to get the job you want. People will respond to your genuine interest in them, making them more likely to contact you if they become aware of a position.

 

Finding a job through your network is effective and enjoyable. The people you know are a great resource no matter what kind of job you are looking for, so don’t hesitate to continue building your relationships. While it may not get you a job tomorrow, it will set you up for better quality opportunities in the future.

 

Sarah Jackson, freelance writer and artist, is a fine one to talk about networking. She only knows 10 people and they are all shut-ins!

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