Use Smart Networking to Speed Up Your Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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A critical tactic in your job search toolbox is networking, but it may not feel as though your efforts are getting the results you want. Evaluate your approaches and make sure you are using your time wisely to get results more quickly.

Choose business networks.

Effective networking does not focus solely on talking with friends and family. Of course, you will discuss your job search with your informal network, but this is not the network that is likely to land your next job. Think in terms of business contacts, professional and community organizations, and even former professors or workshop leaders. You need to focus on people who are active in the business community in order to effectively use your network.

Maintain constant contact.

This point can feel like a balancing act. While you don’t want to be a pest, you need to maintain high visibility with your business network in order to be considered as a viable candidate for job openings.  Set your own goal for the number of contacts you will pursue. A goal of 3 to 5 weekly contacts is reasonable when you are conducting a full-time job search. Carry business cards with you for casual encounters and consider a more complete bio, resume, or project sheet for scheduled meetings. Remember to have your own business cards made so that you are not using anything related to current or former employers.  You don’t want to imply that you are looking for a job using company resources! Follow the example below to create your personal business card.

Ben or Betty Job Seeker
Human Resources Manager
(phone number)
(email)
(LinkedIn profile or website)

Diversify your efforts.

Don’t rely solely on social media or local groups. You need to use all resources available to you. Consider professional career strategists, local business organizations, and online sources. For social media sites such as Facebook, present an appropriate image. Remove any questionable photos or postings, such as complaints about your former boss or party pictures. Consider using LinkedIn to expand your network. Research any professional organizations that may also have job boards. It could be worth the membership to expand your professional network and use any online resources they may have for job seekers. Finally, don’t forget local sources, such as the Chamber of Commerce or civic groups composed of business leaders (for example, the Kiwanis).

Target effectively.

Are you networking with people who are making hiring decisions? This goes beyond shifting your focus from informal networks of friends and family to a business network.  Think about using your efforts effectively. You will get more results from some of the business leaders who are involved in local civic groups than networking with those contacts without hiring authority. That doesn’t mean you want to ignore those who answer the phones within an organization. You need to enlist them on your support team as well. Branch out to use the online resources mentioned earlier. If you are already on LinkedIn, review others with similar interests even if they are located across the country. Many professions are relatively small and one professional with hiring authority in New York may know someone hiring in your region.

Cultivate your network.

Cultivating a network takes time. Think of your professional network as a garden. Plant seeds with initial contacts. Weed out contacts that aren’t working. Fertilize those contacts that have greater potential in your targeted search. Constantly tend the network. You can’t expect results if you only reach out periodically or when you need some help. Think of ways to maintain contact with your network on a regular basis. Perhaps you have updated your skills and want to let people know. Send out copies of interesting articles you have discovered. These activities keep your name present in the minds of network contacts.

Smart networking will help you use your time more efficiently and achieve results more quickly. With a targeted network, you are not the only one working to find you a job. You have multiplied your efforts many-fold with an active network. Evaluate your approach and do some smart networking to land your next job!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Doostang News February 21: Tips for Improving Your Networking – Part 1

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There really is an art to networking, and while you certainly get better at it over time, there are also a few tricks you can employ to improve your results.   While you probably won’t get very far by standing in the corner at a networking event, you’ll also suffer if you go over-the-top and try to do too much.  Here are some pointers to keep in mind when trying to establish meaningful connections:

Slow Down

If your main goal is to show up to an event and collect as many business cards as possible, you’re not going to get very far in the long run.  The reason for this is that in order to achieve your goal, you will have to move about the room very quickly, without giving yourself a chance to make any first impressions on anyone.  You will easily be forgotten, and although you will have their contact information, you won’t have a real basis to follow up with all those people whose business cards you collected.  Additionally, without much one-on-one time with each person, you will likely forget the individuals you are there to meet as well, and therefore won’t get much out of the event.

Focus on Quality

Really try to relate to the person you are talking to, and make sure that you speak and listen.  Don’t become distracted by other people in the room or think about the next person you are going to approach.  Focus your attention on the person standing in front of you and try to make a real connection with them.  That way, when you follow up, they will remember who you are and will be more open to continuing the conversation you started at the event.

Tell a Story

A good way to stick in people’s mind is to tell them your story.  Think of things you can tell them that are relevant, but interesting as well.  What makes you unique as a business professional and as a human being?  How did you get to where you are, and what makes you tick?  And make sure to listen to their stories as well.  People love the chance to share something about themselves, and having this exchange will help establish rapport between the two of you.  It will also give you something to reference and talk about later on when you get in contact again.

There are right ways and wrong ways to network. So even if professional socializing makes you feel as though you are out of your element, just try to stick to the proper etiquette and you’ll likely come out successful in the end.

Goodbye for now, and stay tuned for our next installment on networking tips!

The Doostang Team

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