Networking is one of the top ways to land a job. Meeting the right person can open up the doors to new opportunities, and new connections.
But with a global pandemic and virtual environments, how can you effectively network to find a job?
To help you develop a networking strategy, we asked human resource professionals and business owners for their best job networking tips. What networking tip would they offer someone looking for a job opportunity?
Here are several tips on how to network to find a job.
Networking should be a way of life and shouldn’t be something you do only when searching for a job. Establishing and building connections is critical to both professional and personal growth and should be part of the fabric of life. Share with others, and, importantly, listen well. You never know when an existing or new relationship will lead to an opportunity. Finally, be intentional about helping others when you can – networking is a two way street.
Kimberly Kriewald, AVANA Capital
Be Valuable to Others
Ideally, networking is a daily activity, connecting with people, helping one another and cultivating relationships. When someone is in the job market, they can then reach out to their network and let them know their situation has changed, and people are more inclined to help because the relationship is already in place. If you are reading this and are currently in the job market, do not despair. Starting a relationship when needing help is a little trickier but still very doable. The key to networking during a job search is to remember to be of value to others. What article, blog or Ted Talk can you share with someone that will be of interest to them in their career? Asking for help is fine as long as you remember to think of a way you can be helpful in return. Also, once you are employed, remember to keep this going. Building relationships is an ongoing daily activity.
Kerri D’Astici, HR and Career Blueprint
Discover Pain Points
Networking for a job is more than just attending career fairs, meeting face to face or cold emailing over LinkedIn. Networking is all about adding value. Whoever you want to connect with first, find out what their pain points are; this could be commercially or personally. Have they recently asked a question on social media that they need help with? Have you seen any gaps in their business strategy you could suggest for improvement? Did they mention they have had problems cooking a recipe at home? Keep your ear to the ground and be ready to help wherever you can.
Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs
Let Everyone Know You’re Seeking New Opportunities
Tell them specifically what you’re looking for in your next job. Consider providing them your resume that they can discuss or, with your permission, pass on to potential employers. Being specific and ready to go will help your colleagues to hone in on relevant openings of which they may become aware. Ask your contacts if they can recommend one or two others to whom you can reach out regarding your search, and ask if they would be willing to make a virtual introduction. This will help you to grow your network, which will be beneficial for your search and beyond.
Colleen McManus, Senior HR Executive and Consultant
Us Social Networks to Reinforce Relationships
While networking through face-to-face interaction is invaluable, it is hard to do under current COVID-19 related circumstances. In any regard, if you desire to maximize your networking reach, use social networks and other online resources to reinforce relationships and search for new connections. Today in most instances, meeting face to face with employees of your target companies may not be possible, but the internet can close the distance. Online contacts are a simple way to make initial connections. Target companies, search for names and then reach out via varied social media avenues. Do not forget also to post on social networks when you are seeking employment and message contacts that you think can help you in your search.
Ronald Kubitz, Forms+Surfaces
Choose and Maintain Network “Nodes”
My networking tip is to keep your network focused. Networking requires a time commitment. If you don’t keep your connections fresh, they will dry up and, when you reach out, they will either ignore you or feel like you are only using them to get ahead. If your network is spread too thin, it is less likely to be effective. Focus your network on your chosen specialization. Choose network “nodes” that are likely to give you a benefit in the future and make sure they’re properly maintained.
Phil Strazzulla, Select Software Reviews
It may seem counter-intuitive, but spending time in service of others via a professional, community, or religious group will not only give you a platform to showcase your talents, but it will also put you in contact with more people who can potentially help you. Good deeds also put things in perspective and raise your sense of gratitude which can help energize you for the search ahead.
Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership
Connect After Virtual Networking Events
While you are at the virtual event, have a look at people’s LinkedIn profiles and ask to connect with people who are relevant to your career. A simple message such as “Hi, I saw that you attended the X event — I was there and would love to connect with you” goes a long way. This means that you are adding people to your contact list and can start to build a personal relationship with them.
Ineke McMahon, P2P Learning and Development
Support Other Businesses
I don’t believe in the traditional sense of networking, as I feel it is very surface level and empty. Instead of working the room at a networking event or sending out a million random LinkedIn requests, I would opt for taking the time to build real connections with people who work in your target industry. By authentically supporting them and their business, you can stand out from the other applicants when a position opens up. Even better, you may be top of their mind as they craft the job description! The key is to be authentic, outgoing and personable.
Nikitha Lokareddy, Markitors