When it comes to finding a job, nothing beats good, old-fashioned networking – contacting friends, relatives and former colleagues, setting up face-to-face meetings in the hope of getting job referrals. Yes, it is awkward, but here’s why it simply has to be done: At any given time, about 80% of all available jobs aren’t posted in the classifieds or on job boards, says BH Careers International, a New York career-management firm. And 60% of people surveyed by BH said they got their last job by networking.
Here are 10 great networking tips to help you along the way:
- Prepare an “elevator speech” (see our previous blog post).
- Use your existing ties. Spread the word that you’re looking for a job and ask if anyone has a contact that might be able to offer advice.
- Target trade groups. Don’t waste time at big events – join the dominant trade or industry group in your area.
- Show interest in others. Stop focusing on you and what you need – take an interest in the other person. Ask questions and get the contacts talking about themselves and their business experience.
- Don’t ask for a job. Instead, seek advice. People are likelier to be more generous with their time if you’re asking for counsel rather than a job.
- Build relationships. Strangers won’t put their relationship on the line for you – build ties with new contacts before asking for help.
- Don’t be selfish. No matter how desperate you are, remember that networking is a two-way street.
- Don’t abuse relationships.
- Follow through. Write a proper thank-you note. Keep people up-to-date on how things went with interviews, meetings, etc.
- Maintain your network. Cultivate ties even when you aren’t job hunting.
What tips have you found to be helpful in your own networking experience? Let us know!