Building relationships is crucial to succeeding in the workplace, especially if you are potentially searching for your next job. Effective networking can help cultivate quality relationships, which may lead to promotions and interview opportunities. While networking can be rewarding, it requires strategy, motivation and sometimes courage.
So, why is networking worth your investment of time and effort, and how you can network for your next job?
Networking allows you to expand your professional connections, thereby increasing your chances of achieving your career goals. When done successfully, networking not only helps you get a job faster but also gives you a competitive advantage throughout every stage of your career.
Utilizing your network to find a new job can provide you access to opportunities that you may not find in an online job search. Many positions are not listed on company websites but are instead shared only internally or through networking. This means that you need to be regularly communicating with those in your network, so they know your skills and experience, trust you and know when you are in search of a job.
Companies want to hire the best person for the job. Using networking to get a job interview means you’ll enter the hiring process with a relationship and level of trust with a potential employer, thanks to your network.
How To Network For A Job
Networking for a job requires strategic thinking and developing skills that help you connect with others. By networking efficiently, you can ensure that the effort you put into cultivating these relationships is worth your time and the time of your colleagues.
As we continue to move more fully to a digital world, there’s a great deal of ambiguity and misinformation about how to network effectively, with both entry-level and mid-level professionals who are unsure how to leverage top networking platforms such as LinkedIn in the best way.
Whilst consideration needs to be given to the specific stages you should take to reach out to strangers you would like to connect with, as well as the best ways to build supportive, influential relationships that will help them land ideal roles, achieve advancement and promotions, there is as much thought needed to ensure you are not reaching out in an off-putting manner, burning bridges that could have been highly instrumental.
The goal of networking should be to establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals with similar interests. These relationships can then be leveraged when seeking employment, referrals, recommendations, advice, or mentoring.
Here are a few tips to consider when networking for your next job:
According to recent studies, as many as 80% of jobs are not secured by applying online but rather through personal and professional connections, whilst 70% of jobs are not publicly listed. Rather, it is often through networking that we gain a distinct advantage to learn about ideal roles and have the chance to apply and interview for them.
However, you need inspiring and influential people to help you land and assess potential jobs and continually develop throughout your career. In order to elevate your career and professional endeavours, it is essential that you get your foot through the right doors. To continue to grow and thrive throughout your career, you need a robust community of mentors, sponsors, and ambassadors to open doors you can’t open by yourself.
A supportive network helps you identify great new jobs of interest, connect with people already working at your ideal companies or in your desired field whilst enabling you to present yourself in a more confident and compelling manner.
You need to get more comfortable articulating in verbally sharing information about your talents, contributions, and areas of special achievement, on LinkedIn, on your CV, and in your interviews and conversations if you wish to move forward in your professional life.
Cultivating strong relationships can take time, as can networking to find the right position. You will likely need to be patient as you develop your network and make new connections.
In any networking situation or job search, being the real you is an absolute must.
Be who you are and express your goals and interests. Pursuing what you want and not what you think other people will approve of will always be more satisfying and ultimately successful.
When building relationships, showcasing your authentic self will enable you to be seen as trustworthy and genuine, which will not only promote your characteristics, but will encourage people to want to help you on your career development, and potential job search.
Ensuring emphatic or active listening will help you establish a strong and more productive rapport or relationship with people.
Attending events which have meaning to you, whether it is to see a particular guest speaker you admire, or a topic of personal interest to you, will alleviate inauthenticity, so long as you go with a real purpose in mind – to connect with people…whether personal or business-related.
And remember, everyone is there for the same reason!
Make Use of Social Networks
One of the most effective networking strategies is making connections online. Social media sites, in particular LinkedIn, provide great ways to learn insider information about your chosen career and connect with people and professional bodies. Maintaining consistency will keep you updated with the latest information about the field, including job leads and hiring trends.
Networking through face-to-face interaction is invaluable, but if you want to maximize your reach, use social networks and other online resources to reinforce relationships and search for new connections.
Consider your personal brand along with how you are presenting yourself online about your work. Are you demonstrating that you are engaged, committed, excited about your work, a thought leader, a contributor, an inspiring manager, one who is making a difference?
Follow the top thought leaders and influencers in your field and share their posts and updates, with detailed comments as to why their work inspires you. And always tag them in your shares. Be of service to them by amplifying their messages to your community.
Make sure you have made full use of all the features available on LinkedIn, including:
- An engaging banner image which represents you.
- Clear and professional headshot (make it as simple as possible for people to recognise you).
- A compelling headline that follows this formula: What you do, who you do it for, and for what key outcomes.
- Summary – articulate your top skills, key contributions and achievements in your area of expertise, and what you’re most passionate about in the work you do.
- The successes in your existing and previous positions – share the key outcomes you’ve contributed to that have made a difference at your organisation that other employers would want as well.
- Skills for endorsement – select a thorough list of the key skills you possess so others can endorse you.
- Follow key groups and companies that reflect your interests.
Why not follow the Corvus LinkedIn page to find out more about our live roles.
Focus On The Relationship, Not What You Can Gain
Certainly, networking requires some self-promotion; otherwise, it would be nearly impossible to determine who has similar backgrounds and interests. Unfortunately, some see networking as an opportunity to take self-promotion to the extreme, giving everyone, they meet the “hard sell.”
Focusing on long term relationships will make a more powerful impression than your previous work experience. Present yourself as a likeable person before showing your professional worth.
It truly is an exchange when you network and meet someone for the first time. Certainly, you have an agenda or purpose in mind, but so do the other professionals you are meeting. Find out more about them, what are their needs and tap into that discussion too.
When you network, you certainly want something to come out of the experience, but it can also be “giving back” to someone else that makes the time worthwhile. There are numerous associations for all types of businesses and agendas, just find the one that connects to your interests, the industry you work in, or your personal values, and you will likely find like-minded people who can contribute to your professional development.
Networking Is A Two-way Street!
“Networking is the proactive process of building genuine relationships with people you know who can connect you to people they know who can provide you with information, advice and more contacts that will help you make good career and business decisions.”
Relationships are investments – the more you put in, the more you get back. Be willing as often as the opportunity presents itself to help someone else out in their networking pursuits.
You can improve your relationships with your contacts and your chances of finding work by offering to help your contacts. Remember that networking is about turning outward, and volunteering to help your connections which can illustrate your motivation and dedication, even allowing you to display your skills.
Listen to your connections and look for opportunities to help regardless of whether they are guaranteeing you a position in their company. They may remember your assistance and recommend you for a position in the future.
Whilst the post-pandemic world may have opened a number of opportunities to join global virtual events which may not have been possible to previously attend, there is still a huge appeal and desire for face-to-face networking events to resume.
While it can be tempting to network only from behind the safety of a computer screen, networking in person can provide a more personal interaction. Rather than only emailing the friend who works at the company you want to work for, schedule a time to have lunch with them. During that face-to-face time, discuss not only the position you are hoping for, but also your personal relationship.
In addition to meeting in person, consider attending events where you can make new connections. If you’re searching for a new job in your current field, attend a convention, business social or job fair so that you can meet others outside your current company who have shared interests.
If you want to move beyond your current field, find someone in your network to attend an event with. Once there, meet as many new faces as possible and exchange business cards.
You never know when you may find the right person with the right connections.
Following up is an essential step in guaranteeing that your networking interactions were worthwhile. Follow up with new connections after making initial contact. This follow-up can involve thanking them for meeting with you, asking further questions or sending along with an article relevant to your conversation. These continued interactions strengthen the relationship, remind the contact of your meeting and perhaps cause them to think of you for an open position.
A contact may also recommend contacting one of their friends or colleagues. After reaching out to that third person, email your contact and do so again after you’ve received a response. This shows gratitude strengthens your relationship by continuing to involve them in your journey.
Making connections doesn’t end when the job fair or career event is over. Be sure to exchange contact information. Following up with people you’ve met at networking events continues the relationships and strengthens those connections.
Why not connect with Our Team to find out more about how we can assist you in your job search.