Networking is one of the best ways to find a job. While hundreds of other applicants are looking at public job boards, career networking allows you to get an inside track to jobs that may not be publicized. Networking is invaluable as a job search resource because it can help set you apart from the general applicant pool at every stage in your career.
Networking is about building and maintaining relationships with people in your industry or desired line of work. Expanding and maintaining these relationships can help your career in a number of ways; discovering job openings to landing a position because of someone's recommendation. While job networking can sometimes be tricky, the following tips can help guide you in building a strong, useful network.
- Widen your network. Join a networking site like LinkedIn and reach out to acquaintances, friends of friends, former classmates and any business contacts. You never know who could end up helping you land a job so widening your network is always a good idea.
- Networking should be mutually beneficial. Don't approach a connection simply as "what can I get from this person?" Help others on their career paths whenever possible or direct them to contacts you have that may be helpful to them. If you help them out they will likely be happy to help you out when the opportunity arises.
- Have purpose. In addition to widening your network, make it strong by identifying key people you want to reach. These could be leaders in your industry, employees at a company you would like to work for or someone in a position you would like to learn more about.
- Keep records of your connections and where they have worked. This will make it easier for you to identify who could be a good resource.