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How Networking Can Help You Land Your Dream Job

Networking can be essential in a job search. Learn how networking, if done correctly, can help you land the job you want. View our expert tips online now!

Ho Lin Profile
By Ho Lin 3 minute read

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Networking to land the job you want

Career networking is all about reaching out to people who can help you find a job in your field, and is a great way to enhance your job search efforts. Many times, hiring agents already have a particular person in mind for a job before it’s advertised and it’s not unusual for jobs to be filled outside of job postings. Having the right network connections can be a key advantage in becoming “top of mind” for recruiters, and knowing someone who can give you an inside tip when a job becomes available or can put in a good word with the right person can be an advantage in your job search.

If you are looking for your dream job or considering a career change, now is the time to focus on your network of contacts. ResumeHelp has lots of networking tips that demonstrate how your connections can help you land your dream job including:

  • 6 reasons networking helps you get hired
  • 12 successful networking tips for job hunters
  • FAQ: Networking
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6 reasons networking helps you get hired

Learn how to network like a pro and you’ll find that more career opportunities will open for you as you build more connections.

1. You will find more opportunities through networking

The most obvious advantage networking can have in your search for a new job is to alert you to opportunities. Spread the word across your network of friends, past colleagues, family and acquaintances when you’re in the job market. It’s a great way of finding out about leads or opportunities you would otherwise have not known about. These people in your preexisting network can offer insights, connections, opportunities, career advice, LinkedIn tips and more. Many of the best jobs come about through a referral.

An old adage that human resource managers have is that many of the best job opportunities are never advertised, and thus you may never find out about them. However, if you learn how to network effectively, then you can get the inside scoop on job opportunities that never make it to the career websites or newspapers.

2. Career networks offer great references

One of the most sure fire ways for a job seeker to get hired is to have a stellar reference. If someone in your professional network can vouch for you, that’s even better. A personal testimonial from a friend or colleague can really go a long way toward pushing you over the edge in a competitive job market. When you have a diverse career network filled with professionals, then you have a list of references that is bound to impress any hiring manager.

3. Personal referrals are powerful first impressions

When it comes to finding out about an employment candidate, most hiring managers prefer referrals over cold leads. A cold lead is anyone who sends in a resume without someone to refer them. It is true that most people start out as cold leads, but that does not diminish the fact that the referrals that come as a result of career networking are going to have the inside track on getting the job.

People in your network can introduce you to people in their network who may be very useful in providing information or job leads. It’s always advisable to be open to the idea of expanding your network. Ask around for introductions to people whom you may like to get to know.

4. Networking can actually help expand your network

While networking introduces you to a handful of people in your industry, it can open the doors to you meeting even more people. You see, if every one of your contacts introduces you to their contacts, your network can increase exponentially. It’s always a good idea to accept introductions when offered to you, even if they are from a different industry. Increasing the number of contacts in your network could lead to a connection that is in your industry and a potential role in a company.

5. Your career network is useful after you have found the job

A good career network is filled with professionals who can still offer services to you after you have secured the job of your choice. When you need further advice or help, or even a specific service, you can turn to the people who have already invested time and energy to help you find a new job. This kind of return to a career network only makes the network stronger and helps to boost your career.

6. An active career network can keep your career moving

There is a good chance that the job your career network helped you land will not be the last job you ever have. As you expand your career and build your resume, your value to other potential employers will grow. An active career network can help elevate your professional profile and present you with future opportunities that can be a huge step up in your career. A career network is the kind of referral system that continues to pay dividends as long as you keep it active.

15 successful networking tips for job hunters

The trick to successful networking is to start and build your connections in a way that will be beneficial to your job search process. The most successful networking tips will help you cultivate effective habits, which will take time but will be worth the effort when your network delivers the job of your dreams.

Have the right materials on hand

Invest in business cards for planned and unexpected networking opportunities. Carry business cards that give a very brief overview of your credentials and offer your contact information. Although you can meet people by attending social networking events or a meetup, sometimes unplanned meeting can lead to big rewards. Whether you’re formally introduced or strike up a conversation with someone in a grocery store, a business card, resume and cover letter are a great way to make a solid professional impression, and give you the best chance to be contacted with job leads.

Be in the right place

There are many advantageous places to network both in person and online. Attending in-person job fairs, corporate events and social meet-ups and other places where you are assured to run into contacts that can enhance your network. As long as you work to put yourself in the right places, then you will find the people who can help you to expand your network.

Sign up for a LinkedIn profile and with other social networking sites

Social media is an easy and effective way to network and get noticed without ever leaving your home or office. The number of contacts you can connect with is endless. This includes LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and more. It’s a good idea to devote some time out of your day to read social media posts and comment on topics that are part of your industry. Comments make a good conversation starter and make your presence known. You can even take it further by joining groups, participating in webinars and other discussions to make valuable connections.

Always enhance your value to your network

While your professional skills are interesting to many of the people you meet, they alone won’t not enough to convince people to be part of your career network. When a network contact calls you for advice, be there to offer what they need to know. When a contact in your network calls you looking for a business contact, then offer another contact in your network that fits the criteria. Your career network will work harder to find you a job when you are active in your network and show value to your contacts.

Always be positive

Everyone has disagreements and differences of opinion, but that does not mean that their overall demeanor cannot be positive. Whenever you head out to expand your career network, do so with a positive disposition and a smile on your face. If you simply do not feel like being positive, then perhaps that is not the best day for you to look for new people to expand your network.

Have an elevator pitch ready

If you work hard enough to expand your career network, then you will inevitably have people asking you about your skill set and what you could offer a company. An elevator pitch is a two-sentence introduction that business people use to introduce their companies to new contacts. In order to network effectively, you need an elevator pitch to use whenever you make a new contact who is interested in hearing about what you do.

Make a list of potential contacts and keep track of leads

As your contact list increases, it’s a good idea to have a master list. That way, you don’t unwittingly reach out to a contact for a second time. It’s also a good way to keep track of leads and what contacts they originated from. Maintaining acontacts list also helps you evaluate the quality of your contacts (after all, it’s about quality and not quantity). Once you have your list of quality contacts, note your interactions with them so you do not repeat emails or forget important details. Your networking efforts are only as strong as the results. Keep track of not just your efforts, but also the payoff you get from them. If a contact consistently offers to help but does not follow through, refocus your efforts elsewhere, and be sure to go the extra mile for contacts who do the same for you.

Always listen carefully during a networking opportunity

You’ve heard the expression, “be seen and not heard”, and that holds true for networking. Following the flow of the conversion but don’t monopolize the situation. Listen intently to the career advice being offered and allow the other person to finish speaking before intervening. Should the other person ask you a question, answer it comprehensively but not long winded. If the opportunity arises, you can ask additional company or industry-related questions and once again.

Recognize the efforts of your contacts

A network needs to be nurtured just like any budding relationship. This includes showing recognition for and thanking network contacts that have gone the extra mile for you. Whether it was to introduce you to other contacts in your industry, inviting you to a seminar, reviewing your resume, giving you a job lead or simply providing some sort of career advice, give thanks. Follow up in writing with a note or a token of gratitude; this encourages more of the same. You will be looked upon as appreciative by people in your network as opposed to someone that uses people to advance their career.

Update your online profile and join discussion boards and niche sites

Your online presence is important and can assure you get noticed. It’s a good idea to review your online profiles to be sure you are presenting the latest and greatest information about yourself. Should someone on your contact list be made aware of a job opening and thinks of you, one look at your profile should be able to reinforce your qualifications and job status. The same holds true for a recruiter that relies on social media to seek out job candidates. Be active in online communities that center around your career choice or area of expertise. Those fellow members can offer valuable insights and with luck, job leads.

Networking is not a job request

While it may seem like an easy way to find a job, it’s advised not to directly ask contacts for a job. It is okay to discuss your current role and desire for a different role in the future but it should not come off as a desperate plea for a job opportunity. Networking should be more of a way to get industry information that could be a potential lead making scenario. Build a meaningful relationship with a contact and see where that acquaintance may direct your future career.

Networking is a great way to get your resume reviewed

Once you build a communicative relationship with contacts from your industry, you know who are the best people to ask for career advice. This includes asking a contact or two, to provide a brief review of your current resume. You are not asking the contact to rewrite your resume but instead, just to offer feedback. Perhaps your skills can be improved or you have outdated technical information that is hurting your resume. While reading through your career history, the resume reviewer may inadvertently give you a prospective lead on a job without you asking for it.

Make it clear that you are looking for a job

Never take for granted the notion that your career network contacts know that you are looking for work. When you first meet new contacts, it may not be in a situation where talking about your job hunt is appropriate. But as you maintain contact with your network, you should make it clear that you are looking for work and any assistance they can offer would be helpful.

These successful networking tips will help you cultivate the network you need to land the job of your dreams, no matter where you are in your career. You never know when you’ll run into someone who can help you achieve your career goals, so be ready to market your skills and expertise at any time.

FAQ: Networking

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Three examples of networking for business purposes are the following:

  1. Social media networking – allows for immediate connections via social networking sites like LinkedIn.
  2. Friend circle networking – offers current connections to be networking referrals.
  3. Event networking – attend conferences, seminars, lectures and alumni events.

The purpose of networking is to build a contact list full of industry-related colleagues and mentors that can open the door to new career opportunities.

The difference between networking and socializing is that networking has the main intent and purpose of building business connections. Although socializing can have a business intent, it most often has the purpose of simply building relationships.

When you start networking, it’s a good idea to have a networking strategy. One way to start actively networking and building relationships is to create a profile on social media. Sign up for in-person or online networking events. Reach out to coworkers, colleagues and mentors to quickly create a network of contacts and valuable connections.

Network with everyone that can help you develop and grow in your career, and as a person. Whether you’re entry-level, experienced, management, a business owner or a student, it’s imperative that you continue to make connections by adding mentors, colleagues, alumni and industry experts to your contact list.

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Ho Lin Profile

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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