The traditional method of applying for a job and waiting to hear back isn’t the only way to get hired. When you’re job hunting for your dream job, you can leverage your professional network to maximize your opportunities and your chance of being hired. Knowing how to network into a job is a learned skill, so we’ve compiled the top networking for jobs tips here to help you.
Why Does Networking Matter?
Before we dive into the tips and tricks, let’s touch on why networking matters in the first place. The act of networking ultimately comes down to connections — building, maintaining, and growing them. These connections are beneficial for employers and prospective employees alike. Making connections with people who understand your skills and know you can help position yourself for a job in which you’ll be a good fit.
While employers are seeking the best talent for the job, employees are looking for a job title that is exciting and aligns with their skillset, education, and experience. This is why having a network that knows you and your career prospects can help you get (or even just find) the job you want.
Networking for Jobs Tips
It’s a good idea to maintain a strong professional network year-round because you never know when you’ll need to call on someone for help or to make an introduction.
Networking involves the overall process of building relationships.
When it comes to job networking, consider these best practices:
Show up in person
A lot of networking happens behind screens, especially in our increasingly digitally focused world.
For example, think of LinkedIn, an online platform designed specifically for professional networking. From adding connections to posting relevant content to sending direct messages, the platform makes job networking easy to do from any location. However, it doesn’t diminish the need to have face-to-face networking interactions.
When the opportunity arises to attend an industry event or workshop, you can grow and strengthen your job networking contacts in person. Another idea would be to set up informational interviews or ask people in your network to meet for coffee now and again to catch up.
You can also get face-to-face with potential professional networking contacts at parties or events with family and friends. To find these relationships, be vocal about what you do or what you’re looking to do when you are around new people because you never know who you may be talking to (or who they may be connected with).
Target your search
Before you begin randomly reaching out to people, it helps to have your goals in mind. This way, you can target your networking search to connect with people who can help you along your journey.
For example, if you are a graphic designer looking to start working in a new company, you won’t want to spend time searching for doctors to connect with.
You can be more effective with your networking if you are specific with your career goals. Rather than reaching out to new contacts with generic requests, you can share the type of position titles you are looking to fill so that they can associate your name should they hear of job opportunities.
Networking comes down to relationships. And, as you already know, any type of relationship takes time. It takes time to make new connections and strengthen existing ties. Not only does it take time to allow the connection to get stronger, but it also requires that you dedicate time to nurturing and fostering them.
But, in the end, all the time you dedicate to networking for a job can be thought of as an investment. Once you land the job of your dreams, you will reap the rewards of having put in the work.
Reach out proactively
Once you have people in your professional network, you’ll be able to move into the execution phase. This means you’ll need to start reaching out to your network and sharing more about what you’re hoping to accomplish so they can help you. Make a list of relevant people that may be a source of aid on your job search and start sharing more about what you want.
Build the relationship
When you are building your network, it’s a give-and-take process. You can’t only reach out to people when you need something from them. And, if someone should reach out to you for your help, do what you can so that when the time comes, they’ll also want to help you.
Be yourself when you build relationships because authenticity will hold the bond together. Rather than asking for a job directly, you can ask for advice or insight, or even to be referred to someone that your contact might know who could offer more support to you.
Network online, too
Face-to-face communication is key when it’s possible, but online networking will be of great value, too. Knowing how to network for a job through digital channels can maximize your reach. This is especially true when workforces are more open to remote employees, so you are less constrained by geography.
In any type of networking, be it applying for a job or sending an email to an old colleague, follow-up is crucial. People have a lot on their plates, so don’t take it personally if they don’t get back to you immediately.
Instead, send a follow-up message to check in again. This small but impactful act can make all the difference because it shows that you are persistent and serious about your ask. It’s good for potential employers to see this side of you because it’s a way to showcase responsibility, proactiveness, and organization skills.
Preparation is Key
While working on job networking, be prepared for when the opportunity strikes. Depending on the role you want to fill, the requirements may vary. But, most jobs will want you to share your resume and proof of your degree (or certificate or any previous experience that shows you are prepared for the job).
Know Your Network
Knowing how to network into a job begins with knowing your network! Take time to expand your connections while also focusing on strengthening existing relationships. When you meet new people in professional or fun settings, be open to talking about your career goals and/or experience because it just may be that they know someone hiring for the exact job you wish to have.
The old adage of, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” begins to prove true when you leverage your network to accomplish your goals.