Networking is the art of making yourself and your career needs known to several people. Based on a recent survey, more than 60% of jobs are found by networking. In order to be a successful networker, you need to develop contacts among friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, and corporate people and so on. Literally, everyone who could help generate information and job leads is a suitable networking contact.
When you are looking for a job, you can directly ask your contacts to refer a job to you, or ask for information and advice on how to land a particular type of job. Contact everyone you know; even if you know only a handful of people, your contacts will have their own contacts. Their contacts will have more contacts of their own. And so it goes; with just a handful of people in your network, you will be able to access a database of limitless contacts.
To ensure that people respond to you and take your request seriously, you must become a popular networker. Do favors for people and you’ll be in a position to collect them later when you need help. This means that you’ll have to go out and help people whom you don’t know well with something, such as information, or a referral and so on. You can stay in touch with your network over phone, letters, emails, or through one of the many networking sites that are available today.
LinkedIn is one highly recommended professional networking site where many employers and recruiters look for profiles. This tool is not just for jobseekers and having a strong profile here will not endanger your current role. You can navigate through your contacts and their contacts and get an idea of who is connected to whom. Before you apply for a particular post in an organization, you can look up decision makers of that organization and start networking with them so that you have some leverage when your resume reaches that company.
Attend local networking events as much as possible. Even if you are open to relocation, you never know when someone you meet locally will have connections into a company or role you are targeting. Remember to provide networking assistance to others freely. Helping others and having that come back to you is a great reward from these events.
Even attending informal parties with friends or families can provide a bit of professional advantage. Accept social invitations; it is good to be noticed as often as possible, and to make the right impression, so that the right people remember you when the time comes.
Social networking sites might seem to be a lot of bother. But having accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and others have their advantages. Though these sites do not possess the professional level of LinkedIn, which is mainly a professional networking site, you can always build an impressive set of contacts through social networking sites. You never know who may be useful at some point.
by: Anjela Mangrum, CPC
Anjela Mangrum is the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions Inc. MCS partners with industrial and machining manufacturing businesses to source and secure mid-to-upper level talent for operations, supply chain, and engineering positions. They work to empower individual job seekers by helping them gain a competitive edge in their job search. For hiring needs contact Anjela at 513.753.3813 x101.