Benefits and Challenges of Networking in Your Job Search
When searching for a new job, there is a lot of talk about tapping into your network.
…what does that mean?
Simply put, networking is about who you know. The personal connections you have both IRL (in real life), and through social media can bolster your career in ways you may have never considered. Did you know many companies don’t advertise open positions? They rely on referrals and networking to find the perfect candidate. CNBC conducted a study and found that 70% of jobs are never advertised publicly.
TalentSource Pro Tip: When beginning your job search, start by prioritizing your network.
Just like everything in your job search, you need to be organized and thoughtful as to your goals. Networking opportunities exist everywhere, from the gym, to family, friends, and current and former colleagues. Individuals on this list may be:
• Friends, neighbors, or family that work in your industry.
• Professionals you’ve met through industry associations.
• Acquaintances from sporting events, social and interest-based groups.
• Peers from digital professional networks such as LinkedIn.
• Recruiters who specialize in your field.
Tapping into Networking in Real Life
Face to face networking opportunities should be a top-level priority in your job search. Why? Because doing this will get you 40% closer to getting the job of your dreams. In a 2019 study by HubSpot, in-person meetings and networking produce a close rate of 40%. Start with a list of people who you would list as a reference on your resume. Make it a priority to reach out to them and describe your goals.
TalentSource Pro Tip: When working on IRL networking, focus NOT on selling yourself, but on building relationships. Keep a notebook or spreadsheet with notes from these meeting details.
A great place to network is at professional meetings. Attending these kinds of events will widen your networking net. Research the following in your area:
• industry associations or clubs
• networking events, expos, conferences, or careers fairs
• volunteer opportunities in community events
• industry meetings
Using Your Social Networks
The connections you have on professional platforms, like LinkedIn, are an invaluable resource. Before you dive into all those you are connected to on social media, be sure your profile and your posts are in-line with your professional goals. Polishing your online presence should be as much about your job search as constructing your resume.
Once your profile is perfect, consider reaching out to relevant professionals to begin a networking relationship. Avoid impersonal messages; think of how many messages you’ve received that you’ve quickly deleted. Do some research, and find out what you might have in common, and begin there. For example, if you both have kids that play sports, maybe the subject line of your introduction message might be, “congratulations to the Panthers basketball team on a great win over the Tigers!”.
Also, research and joining virtual groups and communities with professionals in your industry is a great tool. Not only will this help you expand your network but can also give you information on industry hot topics and new resources.
TalentSource Pro Tip: Working in the fact you are looking for a new job into conversation may take some practice. When asked, “how are you”, don’t simply answer “I’m great”. Say something like, “I’ve been great, working on advancing my career and looking for a new job.”
The Challenges in networking…
One of the biggest challenges in utilizing your network in a job search is time. It takes a focused effort to network, and it is time consuming. Networking is a skill that needs to be practiced to be perfected. It is also a skill that will serve you well not only in your job search, but in your long-term career. Why not develop that skill now?
It’s true the easiest connection we have are with others that are like us, therefore your connections tend to have similar backgrounds and experience. As a result, the job opportunities that arise may be limited to specific sectors, and it can be challenging to access a broader range of industries or career paths. Avoid this by connecting with new people regularly and searching for experts in unfamiliar / uncommon areas. Forbes has a great article on ways to build a diverse network of professional connections.
You can take the first step to building your network by submitting your resume with us, here at TalentSource. Our Smart Recruiting system can be a key tool for your career success. Check out our current job openings. If there’s nothing that that perfectly matches your career goals, submit your resume to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.