Earlier this week we dug up some stats that prove networking really does work. The numbers prove the majority of jobs are found through connections, not through posted ads. Yet sometimes a job seeker will say networking just isn’t working. Here are five quick ways to rethink how networking is supporting your job search.
- Revisit your attitude about networking. Networking is not a means to an end. It’s not meant to simply find people jobs. Networking is about mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about professional connection, finding ways to help others and building long term alliances. Enter each networking encounter with a philosophy of long term relationship building.
- Be helpful. Find ways within your limits to support and give to your network with no thought about how it will come back to you. You can’t know what the “payoff” may be and it doesn’t matter. Be sure to offer help to others in a way that jives with your own priorities and don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Focus beyond your inner circle. It’s easy to network with relatives and good friends. For some, it’s harder to network with neighbors and colleagues, and even harder to reach out to strangers. But it’s the second and third levels of networking that will help you tap into the hidden job market. Push yourself to expand to those more challenging levels.
- Get off the computer. For some it’s most comfortable to network via email, message boards and list serves. But in person contact is far more memorable. Set goals for attending events, meeting people for coffee or lunch and participating in groups.
- Focus on the long term. It’s true, networking often does not show short term payoff. It’s a long term proposition, but one that is proven to pay off.
Stick with networking even when it doesn’t feel fruitful. Continue to refine your approach but do not give up on this vital strategy. The numbers definitely show it IS how people get hired.