Building strong relationships is essential for succeeding at work and while you are looking for your next job. Effective networking can help you to build quality relationships, which could lead to promotions and interview opportunities. Networking can be rewarding, but it does require strategy, motivation, and sometimes some bravery.
Networking is well worth you investing some time and effort into it, and you can use networking to help you secure your next job.
Why Is Networking Important
Networking will allow you to take advantage of any personal and business connections, rather than only having your resume to rely on to help you find a job. These connection are very beneficial to you but are also beneficial for employers, who might hire lots of new employees through networking.
Companies will always want to hire the best person for the job they have to fill. There is a lot of pressure on the people who are leading the hiring process to find someone has the right skills and the experience needed to do well in the position, and who the employer will both like and trust. While interviewing based on resumes alone can help an employer to find a strong candidate, having networks and the networks of their employees to hire from too can help to reduce the risk of a bad hire.
Using networking to secure a job interview will mean that you enter the hiring process with an existing relationship and level of trust with your employer, thanks to your network.
Networking in order to find a new job can also help you to get access to job opportunities that you might not have been able to find just searching for job opportunities online. A lot of available positions might not be listed on company websites, and are instead only shared internally or via networking. This means that you should be in regular communication with people in your network so they know what your skills and experience are, trust you, and know what you are in search of a new position.
How to Network for a Job
Networking for a job will require you to have some strategic thinking. You will need to develop the skills that help you to connect with other people. If you can network effectively and efficiently, then you can guarantee that the effort that you put into cultivating these relationships will be well worth your time and the time of your colleagues.
While it might be tempting to only do your networking from behind the safety of a computer screen, networking in person can provide a much more personal interaction. Instead of only emailing the friend who works at the company that you’re hoping to work for, call them up and arrange a time to have lunch with them. During this face-to-face time, you can discuss the position that you are hoping to get an interview for, but also your personal relationship.
As well as meeting friends at other companies in person, you should think about going to events where you can make new connections too. If you’re in search of a new job in the same field that you work in now, then you could go to a convention, business social, or job fair, so that you can meet other people from outside your current company but in the same industry and with the same interests. Get your gold foil business cards ready to hand out!
If you want to move outside of your current field, then try to find someone in your network that you could attend an even with. Once you’re at an event, meet as many new people as you can and exchange business cards.
You can also personally network with your friends and family in more informal settings that classic networking events too. Accept invitations to parties or family gatherings and mention to the people you speak to there that you are looking for a new job. You never know when you might find someone with the right connections, or who might know of an available job that would suit you.
You can improve your relationships with your contacts and your chances of finding a new job by offering help to your contacts. Networking is about turning outward and volunteering to help your connections can show your motivation and dedication and might give you the chance to show off your skills.
Listen to your contacts and look out for opportunities to help them, whether or not they can offer you a position in their company. They might remember your help and suggest you for a job in the future.
Fight Your Fear
If you’re a shyer person, you might need to push yourself into being more outgoing in order to network well. Encourage yourself to do a bit more than you usually would by speaking to someone for longer or interacting with a few different people at your next event. If you feel nervous about talking to people, try preparing questions and topics before you talk to people.
You might feel hesitant about networking due to the fear of being rejected. Try to feel proud of your efforts, whatever the outcome is, and remember that you will have more opportunities to create connections that could lead to the job you want to have.
Be Patient and Make Time
Building up strong relationships can take a lot of time, as can networking to find the best position. You will probably need to be patient as you meet with your connections and make new ones.
It could also help to call a company that you have an interest in working for and ask for an informational meeting. Go to the meeting with the intent of getting to know the company and potential hiring managers, instead of planning to ask for a job. Take the time to build new relationships and familiarize yourself with your potential employers.
Focus in the Relationship, Not Your Resume
Even though it’s tempting to focus on sharing your resume with anyone who will take it, you should focus on relationships to make a more memorable impression than your previous work experience will alone. Present yourself as someone who is likeable before you show your professional skills.
Use Social Networks and Online Resources
Networking through face-to-face interaction is very important, but to really maximise your reach, use online resources and social networks to find new connections and strengthen existing relationships.
In some cases, it might not be possible to meet employees of your target company face-to-face, but the internet can help. Online contacts are an easy way to make the first connections.
Post on social networks when you are looking for a job and message any friends or followers that you think could help you in your search. Use discussion boards to connect with other professionals and job seekers in your industry.
An essential step after networking is the follow-up. Follow up with any new connections after you have made initial contact. This follow-up could be thanking them for meeting with you, asking some more questions, or sending an article that is relevant to your conversation. These interactions will help to strengthen your relationship, remind the contact of their meeting with you, and possibly make them think of you for an open position they know of.
A friend might recommend contacting one of their connections. After you reach out to this contact, email your friend to say you took their advice, and again if you get a response. This shows you’re grateful, strengthens your relationship, and continues to involve them in your journey.