Are you struggling to find job leads? If so, it’s possible you are not doing enough networking. Many job seekers rely too much on advertised jobs and not enough on networking. Recruiters are relying less and less on job boards and other traditional sources to advertise job openings. The hidden job market, often discovered through networking, is a stronger way to uncover opportunities.
The first step in successful networking is to embrace it as a powerful tool in your job search. Job seekers sometimes feel reluctant about networking, either saying it doesn’t work, it wasn’t necessary in the past, or they don’t have the personality for it. That attitude may doom your networking attempts.
Instead of viewing networking as a necessary evil, think of it as relationship building and a chance to help others. Although your networking will be focused on generating job leads, the opportunity to connect and give to others will inspire and encourage you during your job search.
Networking during a job search serves many purposes including exploring companies and job types, gaining an introduction to a hiring manager or insights into an opportunity and influencing the hire decision. But, when focusing on networking specifically as a way to generate job leads, here are actions you should be taking:
- Create a system for tracking your network. (To learn more about Jobfully’s job search productivity suite, visit our homepage.)
- Define your network by beginning with your inner circle of people you know well, expanding do those you don’t know well and finally to those you don’t yet know
- Set targets for expanding each part of your network with emphasis on people you don’t know yet
- Engage your network in your job search by checking in regularly, asking for their help and, most importantly, offering help
- Make your networking activity a mix of electronic (via email, social media, professional web groups) and in person (attending groups, meeting, conferences and meeting people for conversations)
As you grow your network, you are continually adding eyes and ears who can alert you to potential opportunities. People who are well positioned in your field, industry and job type because they are most likely to hear of possibilities for you. Be sure you are constantly reaching beyond your comfortable inner circle all the way out to those you don’t even know yet, and getting to know them.
Good networking is at the heart of most successful job searches. It’s critical for generating job leads and opening up the hidden job market. It will also prove invaluable down the line when you have a job lead and are looking for a warm introduction to a company or hiring manager, and when you interview for a job and are seeking inside information. It’s the foundation, so make networking your top priority.
Next on Troubleshooting Tuesday: What to do if you are submitting resumes but not hearing back.