I’m sure you’ve heard it by now – the BEST way to find a job in today’s market is through networking. The “hidden job market” is becoming the easiest and fastest way to employment. Due to the volume of resumes that a company receives for an open position, they are now looking for the way to find people who have the qualities and the references in a timely manner. What better way than to go through people you know and trust! Here are 5 networking strategies to use for your job search:
1. Family/friends – be sure to tell the people who know you best that you are looking for a job, and what type; they know, or know of someone who knows, that can get you in touch with the hirer and can speed your search
2. Social media sites – LinkedIn is the premier site for professional online networking; it allows you to post your “resume” online, to connect with people you know or people who are in organizations you want to be in, to research companies, to join groups for education and networking, and to show your expertise by answering questions. I heard a recruiter recently say that he would not look at anyone who did not have a LinkedIn profile! There are other sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Connections, etc. to join.
3. Associations and Groups – join groups in your industry – or the one you want to be in to find people who are currently doing what you want. When you do, start volunteering to show your skills and get you noticed. Some associations have mentoring programs or career pathing to help their members transition. and most have job boards. Find networking groups as well as they are great places to let people know you are looking for a job.
4. Alumni associations – go back to your college or university alumni center to get connected with other alumni who are in your field. Alumni usually want to give back (they also know people)
5. Business cards – pull out all of your old business cards to see who you can contact to inform them of your job search; look at people you’ve met in your preferred industry for connections or to set up informational interviews for information gathering and resources
If networking is not part of your job-search strategy, you are missing opportunities to get you hired. Go back and revise your plan to make these 5 effective networking strategies part of your job search plan. What other strategies have you tried?