When it comes to advancing your career, the importance of networking literally can’t be overstated. The right approach to networking help you both develop and improve upon your existing skill set. It can also help keep you up-to-date on all of the latest trends going on in your industry. It might even introduce you to prospective mentors and resources that can further develop your career.
Start networking with your address book
If you’re looking for help finding work, your address book should be the first place you should look.
First, check in with old bosses or supervisors that you’ve maintained a positive relationship with over the years. Even if they weren’t hiring the last time you spoke to them, it’s still a good idea to check in. They might have an opening you’d be a good fit for. If nothing else, they may be willing to be a reference for you with a job opportunity outside of their company.
Reach out to your extended network
Next, reach out to non-work-related contacts to see if anyone is aware of an open position. If a friend or family member knows you are job hunting, they could refer you to an opening in their company. Even if they don’t know of any openings today, they can keep you in mind when they see open positions. By letting others know what you’re looking for, you significantly increase the chances that someone sees something you’d be interested in.
Word of mouth is and will always be king. In the same way you use a professional reference to speak to your strengths, you can use networking as an extension of your reputation. Finding a job through a strong relationship can also help you stand out from a large applicant pool. You’ve worked hard to build up your experience and reputation. Letting your network help spread the word can only help.
Keep your network in-the-know
When you find a new position, make sure you keep your network up-to-date. Thank anyone who helped you in your search, even if their lead didn’t pan out.
In the end, those who find the most success on the job hunt tend to understand a very simple truth: that “who you know” in most businesses is every bit as important as what you can do. Yes, you need to be able to perform to be successful in a given job. But you have to get your foot through the door first. In most situations, networking is a big part of how you do it.
About the Author: Stephen Lilley earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Over the last decade as a professional writer he has written more than 15,000 unique pieces of content. His topics cover areas ranging from entertainment to technology to finance, real estate and more.