Finding a job in today’s economy can be tough and looking for a new position may seem daunting but there are steps you can take to facilitate the process. While looking through ads, online and on job boards may be the comfortable route for many people, they may not be the most effective way to search. Many positions these now are not even posted and companies rely on word of mouth and referrals to fill their positions. So how do you find these positions that are not posted? You network. Networking can seem like a broad term and scary but by following these steps you may just network yourself into a new job.
Know who you need to network with
Think of everyone who could be a possible contact and make a list. Use past employers, bosses, and coworkers to start with as they may know of positions in your field. This is also the easiest group to reach out to and the warmest leads you will have. People do business primarily with people they know and like, so it is easy to reach out to others that you have worked with in the past. Once you’ve compiled a list, start making contact with the people in your network and inform them that you’re looking for a job. It is important to reach out to others around you because your connections can’t help you find a job if no one knows you are looking.
Don’t limit yourself
Use anyone you know who has recently searched for a new job. Although they may not be in your field, they may have advice as to how they searched or resources that were helpful to them. Many fields require the same process to obtain a job so any advice from others should always be welcomed.
It is also important to network with people at social events that you wouldn’t always speak with. They may know of something. Good networkers are flexible people who can make connections with others in a variety of settings. And although they may not have a direct connection to your industry, your new contact may know of friends or relatives in that field.
Find the networking groups in your city. Young Professionals happy hours, Chamber of Commerce events, Women in Business, Junior League and volunteering are all great place to meet others. Typically people in these groups are happy to help because they know the importance of networking.
Network through social media
With the expanding number of people on Facebook and Linkedin, these are great resources for networking. It is an easy way to reconnect with old acquaintances to let them know you are in the market and looking for career opportunities. Linkedin is primarily focused on professional relationships and has many ways for you to connect with others. You can join groups and search for “groups you may like”. By searching for groups you may like, it will show you groups in your industry, gender or age group that hold networking events.
Linkedin also allows you to create a profile and advertise what you are looking for. Your profile will have options you can check such as; Career opportunities, Expertise requests, Consulting offers, Business deals, New ventures, Personal reference requests, Requests to reconnect. This is helpful as you can customize your profile to help advertise your strengths as well as let people know what you are looking for.
Know what you are looking for and have a short “blurb” ready to give. Networking is most effective when you have specific employer targets and career goals. People will think of you for more opportunities if you let them know specifically what you interested in rather than saying you are open to anything. This way, you can stand out when people hear of job openings.
Job searching can be a stressful task but networking shouldn’t be. Many know what it’s like to be looking for a job and will gladly assist you if they can. Always remember that successful networking is about building relationships. Thank others by sending a thank-you note and check in periodically to see how they’re doing. By establishing these relationships through your job search, you can feel comfortable that you will have a strong network of people you can count on in the future.
Written by Melanie Fischer, Career & Job Expert who has been writing professionally for over 10 years.