Social networking is a critical tool in your job search – but it’s not the only one. Never underestimate the power of your personal connections. Research has shown that more than 80 percent of jobs are found through one-on-one networking. According to the Pew Research Center, the average American has approximately 634 contacts – including family, friends, and current and former colleagues. Not all will prove fruitful, of course, but many will offer potential.
It’s Who You Know
The more people with whom you network, the more leads you’re likely to generate. Utilize social media, but follow up with in-person contact. Just one method is to engage in groups to showcase your knowledge and then get to know people personally. Expand your network by getting out there.
- Attend conferences, meetings and events where you can engage with people in your field or profession. Spread the word that you are on the market and open to suggestions. As your network expands, your chances of landing a job will increase significantly.
- Make a list of your priorities. Then determine which of your connections would make the best reference for each of them. By creating a list of contacts with the highest potential for leads and communicating with them frequently, you are effectively using your personal network.
- Show respect. Speak with your contacts in a friendly, professional manner. Be polite and engage them in discussions on topics other than just your job search. Offer to do something for them in exchange for the help they are providing you.
- Participate in job fairs. Research companies that interest you ahead of time. With each person you meet, ask for contact details and references. Your goal is to leave a lasting impression, so you can follow up with them or even get a call from them down the line.
Arrange Informational Interviews
The purpose of an informational interview is not to get a job, but to learn more about the market, a specific company or role, or additional connections. Be proactive in setting up these networking opportunities.
- Send a copy of your resume in advance.
- Pay for coffee or lunch and plan to keep the person you meet updated on your status. They have assisted you – and it shows courtesy to thank them and keep them in the loop.
Participate in Networking Groups
More formal networking can be done through meetings of groups, which are sponsored by professional associations, schools, community centers and churches.
- Come prepared. Have a 60-second “elevator speech” describing yourself, your qualifications and your career goals.
- Be ready to join in and help others. Networking is a two-way street. Think about people you know. The more you reach out to help others, the more they’ll want to reciprocate.
- Make it easy for people to reach you afterwards. Have resumes and business cards available. Don’t be shy about mixing with other participants. Introduce yourself to the group leader and stick around after the meeting ends to talk to others.
- Put your best foot forward. Dress casually but professionally. Remember, these people may be recommending you to someone they know, so look as though you merit their trust.
The experienced recruitment team at PrideStaff Modesto would love to help you build your contacts and opportunities – and find your next great job. Our local offices are backed by a national network that spans the United States. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.