At some point, nearly every applicant for a job has heard the old phrase "it's not what you know, but who you know." In today's modern job searching market, this couldn't be more true. While your skills and abilities get you noticed, it's your contacts and connections that will help you out. When you're working to develop new strategies, networking can be one of the best tools at your disposal.
According to the Denver Post, LinkedIn can be a job searcher's best friend. But you shouldn't be content to simply connect with colleagues, friends and family. You'll need to branch out and take risks as well. Speak to people who are in your direct industry about the rumblings they've heard and the openings that may soon exist. If anyone is in the position to offer you a referral, you should take the opportunity. You'll find that no matter how a conversation goes, you'll be in a better place than had you not tried.
One success story the news source shared saw a woman who recently graduated from business school take advantage of different industry-related product development management associations, where she asked different chapter presidents about potential positions that local companies may have any interest in. Because she took advantage of local groups, the woman was able to find a great job in less than a month. When you're expanding your network, there's no reason why you shouldn't take a leap of faith and join something new. In many cases, putting a voice and a face to a name and resume will establish any candidate as more confident and ready than their competition may be.
There's more to the networking process than simply speaking to a few people once you decide what you're looking for. NerdWallet suggested building a platform on social media well before you actually look for a job, whether you're between opportunities, still in school or working at a current job. Making connections early will pay off later, as the wider net you can cast will help you find more opportunities than you'd otherwise expect.
If you're primarily using social media, the news source also said that you should make updates regularly. LinkedIn, specifically, has plenty of features that will directly deliver information to your network regularly. If your information is accurate and up to date, that's great. If you adjust and tweak your profile regularly in addition to that, you'll be in even better shape. LinkedIn has a built-in feature that sends updates to your connections via email whenever something relatively major changes on your page. If you're connected with staffing services employees, they'll be able to guide you to new opportunities. When friends hear about a new opportunity, they'll keep you in mind.
Many social networks also have the benefit of opening up larger group discussions, which allows users to converse online about different pressing issues that may affect the future of an industry. If you can discuss the pros and cons of different problems, there's no reason to ignore this feature. Simply join an industry-related group, look for a conversation board that's up your alley, and join in accordingly. If you make a good impression, you'll gain more connections and potentially impress people who may be looking for a new employee that has your knowledge.
When all else fails, don't overlook sending out a simple message to your colleagues. There's no guarantee that it will work, but there's no way it can hurt, either. There's no way to guarantee success or failure, but in just sending a message you'll communicate your needs with your audience at large. Even one person seeing the post is all you need for potential success, as long as you're confident enough to put yourself out there.