Tips for better networking in the job search

07.22.2013


Tips for better networking in the job search
Tips for better networking in the job search

One of the most important things to consider when looking to find a job is networking. Through family, friends and sometimes, if you're lucky, complete strangers, opportunities can show themselves where there was previously nothing. It's important to remain focused on what you want out of your job search and branching out into your social network can help reach that endpoint.

Studies show that anywhere from 45 to 70 percent of people looking for jobs found them through networking, according to Business 2 Community, while one survey reported 60 percent got their jobs from people they knew. While applying to jobs with resumes should remain a focus in your hunt, finding opportunities through your network can't be overlooked. One recommended way to hone your efforts should be to create a goal for yourself, as having an answer of what you specifically want to do in your next position will help you immensely when it comes to focusing on your next moves.

Using social media such as LinkedIn to connect with a wide group of co-workers and professionals from your life is a good place to start, as anyone you've made a positive impression on would likely love to help you out in the future. However, this can't be your only effort into the field; connecting personally, if possible in a one-on-one format, will help you improve your aim and make a much more specific entry into the field. While appealing to the masses about needing a job may give you ideas, talking with a professional can give you leads.

While you'll presumably know many people sure to help you out along the way, starting off on the right foot with your most prominent and professional contacts, instead of trying to meet with relative strangers, will greatly assist your search. Using existing relationships as a springboard into the wider market is a helpful approach, as they can point you in the right direction much easier than you finding it yourself through trial and error.

Present yourself the best you can
When you are networking with someone in person, do everything you can to make as positive an impression as possible. Being clean-cut, appropriately dressed and confident in your meeting will help your chances. That means a shirt and tie will look much better than a hoodie and jeans.

Don't necessarily think you're the only person who will benefit from the meeting, either. Working with your network, providing help and assistance as best as possible instead of simply demanding what you desire from them, will pay off over time. Not only will your relationships be much stronger than if you were to remain selfish, but people will be more receptive to your needs if you're communicating to them, not just at them.

Make yourself valuable
Presenting yourself in a manner that suggests you're a decent worker won't get you far. Instead, US News and World Report advises that in every encounter you can, strive to make yourself appear impressive and well-meaning, willing to help out however possible. Whether you can offer advice on a situation, demonstrate problem-solving abilities or benefit your counterpart in some positive way, keeping the light on your positives will help expand your network farther than ever.

At the same time, it's important to know what you're looking for, what you want and how to get there. Don't hem and haw with someone, but simply get to the point. If you think someone can help you out, talk to them instead of letting a possible opportunity pass by. Seeing the ability to network wherever possible can help you find that job you deserve.

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