Networking, Networking, Networking! In a job search, we are told again and again that we must network. The question I get from job seekers is where to network. Do we limit networking to organized events? Do we network in every situation we find ourselves, church, soccer games? Or do we limit networking to past colleagues? The answer is, it depends. Networking in structured meetings can be more focused on the job search, and how to help each other. Networking in your community is about having natural conversations and building relationships, which can eventually turn into leads for your job search.
Here are 6 ways
- Look for job seeker clubs – These meetings will give you a place to go on a weekly basis, offer friendship and support, education and a place to exchange ideas and leads. Attending these events will get you away from your computer, and improve your self esteem.
- Create a job search buddy group – Creating a job search buddy group will create a sense of accountability, where you will be accountable for your job search activities to the fellow members of the group. Job seekers in these type of groups have a 70% success rate in finding employment.
- Never outright ask if a connection knows of a job – This will end the conversation fairly quickly, as most likely the answer will be no. Conversations need to be specific. For example, it is better to state the kind of jobs and companies you are interested in.
- Do your research – Before you start networking, it is necessary to know what you are looking for and what companies you are interested in. Stating you are looking for jobs in accounting, is not as helpful as stating you are looking for positions in medical accounting and then offering two or three possible companies. Name dropping is helpful, as it can help jog their memory of who they may know at a particular company.
- Attend traditional networking events – Look for events at local chamber of commerce website, business journal calendar of events, and websites such as meetup.com. Attendees at these events attend with the sole purpose of networking. A further benefit is that this allows you to network with people who are working.
- No events are off limits – Book clubs, baby showers, church and your children’s soccer games are great places to connect and through natural conversation, explain your job search. During my job search, my son’s Taekwondo center and my church provided me with much needed support and leads. Just be sure to be tactful and not dominate conversations with your job search, but instead briefly explain what you do and ask people to keep their eyes open.
Let everyone know you are looking for a job, friends, family, hairdresser and fellow job seekers. Over 70% of jobs are found through networking, and if you share what you are looking for with your connections, you will increase your chances of landing a job quickly.
P.S. My son achieved his black belt in Taekwondo this past December after three long years of training!