It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. That saying holds truer today than any time. For anyone looking for a new job it can feel like job searching is a disillusioning process which seemingly takes forever. Whether you are at the start of your job search or have been looking for a while, there are ways to boost your chances of landing your dream job.
Networking can open you up to new opportunities. In the USA around 80% of jobs are found through networking. It is a prominent path to a new career as around 60% of new jobs in the UK are never advertised, but instead are filled internally or through networking.
So what is networking? Essentially it is getting to know, and forming long-term relationships with, people who can help you to effectively develop your career. Your network can be made of a patchwork of people, friends, colleagues past and present, managers and industry peers. Your network is anyone who you can leverage to enhance your career.
The Rules Of Networking
• Don’t directly ask for a job
It’s tempting to ask a potential manager for any job opportunities outright, but networking is all about meeting people and gather useful information.
• First impressions count
Remain calm, have an elevator pitch ready and dress for success.
• Give and take
You may be able to help people closer to the start of their career or have contacts and knowledge others can benefit from.
5 Key Tips For How To Build Your Professional Network
1. Professional networking events
You may have a good network of friends, family and colleagues. But the wider you cast your net the more fish you can catch. Whatever your industry, there will be professional bodies, events, meetings, conferences and social functions you can attend to help build your network.
Attending events exposes you to others active in your profession, in an environment where you can talk and exchange advice. You won’t find jobs advertised at these events but remember that 60% of jobs are never advertised in the first place. If you’re early on in your career organisations such as the Junior Chamber International arrange networking events.
2. Leveraging existing contacts
Everyone you know can be a potential networking contact. Start by leveraging family, friends and colleagues both present and past. Anyone you know could become a potential lead to a new job or career.
Let you existing network of contacts know you are looking for a new job, casting your net as wide as possible. If you haven’t spoken to someone for a while, organise a catch up to discuss where you are with your career.
3. Online networking
There’s no getting away from the importance of online professional and social networks. The largest professional network is LinkedIn. Start off by create a professional profile, which acts as a constantly updating CV and ‘following’ companies, brands and industry leaders of interest to you.
To actively network on LinkedIn connect with people in your area and industry sector, join industry groups, forums and discussion groups to exchange ideas with others and spot new opportunities.
4. Network where and whenever you can
Wherever and whenever you are, keep networking. Try volunteering in an industry related charity or join social clubs related to your industry. You might meet new people and make contacts which one day could result in a new role in the future. Top tip: always have business cards ready to give to people you meet.
5. Keep networking once in your new job
The days of a having job for life are over and you many need your professional contacts and network to help with a future job search. Maintaining your network also keeps you abreast of industry news, new roles and career progression opportunities.
For more job search tips visit our Zoek blog and why not try the Zoek App to help you find your next job role, available to download for free on iPhone or Android.
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