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1. Don’t forget to give
The most important thing people sometimes forget when they think about mining their network for job search assistance is that they also need to give. Networking is all about forming real relationships. If you approach your network of contacts just looking to see what they can do for you, you won’t get far. No one likes to be used. Networking is give-and-take. Always consider how you can be helpful to those in your network and they will be more apt to return the favor down the line.
2. Stay positive
When you’re on the job hunt, things can become overwhelming and frustrating. It’s easy to get discouraged; however, you want to always remain positive when interacting with your network. People are more apt to recommend you or share information with someone who is hopeful and upbeat.
3. Take action
Sit down and begin doing some research on networking events and other ways in which you can get yourself out there. List the people in your network who may have leads for you. Spread the word about your job search with purpose.
Most of all, you need to act on your research. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to let fear or life’s other obligations get in the way of focusing your networking efforts. Schedule a couple of networking events within the next month or set a lunch date with a colleague you haven’t seen in a while. Take action to get yourself out there.
4. Develop a strategy
Once you have your list of contacts, events and other networking venues compiled, you’ll want to figure out the best way to go about meeting your goals. Reach out to join groups, write networking events on your calendar and practice your elevator speech.
It’s a good idea to have an elevator speech, or short summary of your career objectives, prepared to share with those you come in contact with. Research networking events and groups. Write a list of contacts you already have whom you could call on for leads or information.
You should also consider updating your resume. Our Resume Builder is a great tool to refresh your existing resume or create a new one. We have dozens of professional resume templates and resume examples you can use as inspiration.
6. Nurture current contacts
While it’s true you want to put yourself out there and proactively make new contacts through various avenues, don’t sacrifice quality contacts for quantity. Take time to work on strengthening the relationships you currently have, as well.
The contacts you already have know you and have an established rapport with you. Consider ways in which these people in your life may be able to assist in your job search. They may even be able to help out by providing networking tips and additional contacts of their own.
7. Seek mentors
While it can be intimidating to reach out to people who are highly successful or are in a more senior role, finding a mentor can be personally rewarding and beneficial to your career.
8. Be bold
When you make strong contacts, don’t hesitate to be specific when making a request. They can’t read your mind. Ask for a particular introduction, letter of recommendation or if you can include them among your professional references.
9. Seek to help
While it’s true that you would like to receive some assistance or information from your contacts, the focus of networking should be on being helpful to your professional contacts and giving as much as you get.
People are more apt to go out of their way for someone who has done the same for them. Get to know new people and stay in touch with those in your network. Strive to find ways you can be useful to them.
You can also volunteer in your community. Volunteer work is a great way to meet new people who might develop into quality contacts.
10. Give thanks
Don’t forget to be thankful as people help you along the way. Send an email or simply pick up the phone to let your contact know you appreciate them.
These networking tips can help you build a professional network. Sometimes getting started is half the battle but building relationships is crucial to a successful job search. Take time to form and enjoy relationships with contacts both new and old, and you will be well on your way toward finding that dream job.