These days, job searching has become a lot like dating. You can’t expect to find your dream guy or gal by sitting at home waiting for someone to call. You need to put yourself out there in the social environment, both actually and virtually.
Gone are the days when your qualifications spoke for themselves through an anonymous resume. Today, employers want the whole package: qualifications, personality and a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to employees. They want to know that you’ll click with them and fit in with the company. And in the same way that we let our friends set us up with potential love interests, employers like to be set up with potential new hires.
A recent Jobvite survey stated that 60% of employers’ best candidates are found through referrals. It also showed that 73% of recruiters have hired a candidate through social media. And 93% of recruiters review a candidate’s social profile before making a decision.
That’s why it’s so important to maintain social and professional connections. You never know when or from where you’re next professional setup will happen.
Here are some other ways that networking can help you find your next job.
Get the Word Out
Hopefully you’ve built a strong network of connections before you need a job. Now it’s time to use them. Make it known to friends, family and contacts on social media that you’re looking for a job. Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions or recommendations to potential contacts.
Stay On People’s Radars
Keep in touch with friends and colleagues through occasional lunches, drinks or friendly emails. Remember to congratulate others for recent accomplishments or life events (such as the birth of a child or a marriage). Try to stay active on social media by posting relevant things on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
Expand Your Network
With a specific job in mind, focus and expand on your connections in that specific area. This includes attending industry events and functions, volunteering in that field, and joining relevant alumni, business and interest groups in person and on LinkedIn and other social media.
Socializing in general is another great way to meet new people, both as friends and potential contacts. Some of the best leads can be found at barbeques, preschool fundraisers or bachelor parties.
People are more likely to help a generous person. Whether you’re looking for a job or not, always try to be of assistance to others in their career endeavors by referring them to potential job leads or introducing them to potential contacts. If you read an article or hear of something that might be of interest to others, don’t just think about forwarding it to them, do it!
Learn Something New
Sometimes the best way to meet people in your new field is through professional development classes. The right teacher might even refer you to helpful people or leads.
Ask for Expert Advice
Informational interviews can provide valuable insight on job skills and introduce you to key people who could serve as valuable contacts. Along the same lines, a mentor can provide indispensible career guidance and, if your lucky, access to some of their contacts. Just remember, you’re asking for help, not for them to find you a job.