Networking Tips for Job Seekers [Complete Guide]
Since ancient times, networking has been of utmost importance for those who want to move forward and advance in working life.
With digitization and social media’s increased importance in our lives and communication, networking through platforms such as LinkedIn has become almost mandatory for everyone to reach, find, and communicate with relevant and important individuals.
Networks can serve both career and in life general, which is why you want to put great focus on it. Not to mention, networking can be extremely valuable, and effective for job seekers to land their new job.
You can network to find new business opportunities or to broaden your personal network. If you want to network and have your own career development as a focus, you should read this article because that’s exactly what we’re going to look closer at.
Networking for job seekers – complete guide
In this article, we share our best tips on how you can network for your next job. Remember that networking can open doors and help with references. But it does not, however, necessarily remove other fundamental pieces, such as having an updated and well-designed CV.
New research shows that a person who has a strong social network has an easier time finding work through established contacts and through direct employees at employers which is certainly not surprising.
The study also highlights that good self-confidence helps jobseekers to establish themselves in the labor market.
The results show that applicants with a strong network are more likely to get information about new jobs from the social network, but less likely to use public services or other governmental initiatives. People with less resource-rich social networks, however, rely on the job search services offered.
The study shows that it takes longer to establish in the job market for the person who lacks a social network.
1. Develop your presence online
2. Broaden your network
To broaden your network on LinkedIn, you need to enter discussions and contribute with your own valuable content. There are closed groups for discussions and there are also many discussions on individuals and companies’ posts. You often already see on a person’s title and personal description what he or she works with. Add people you consider relevant to have as your contacts. Don’t forget to write a personal message associated with adding the person. There, you can introduce yourself briefly and clearly. This is a really valuable networking tip for job seekers.
3. Meet with decision-makers
Once you are in the context that the decision-makers are and have people that you would like to have in your network, it is important to dare to make contact.
Nothing is as effective as old honest mingle. Personal contacts beat everything in such contexts. Face-to-face encounterings will allow you to get in touch with the other person in a different way than for example, LinkedIn. It’s self-explanatory that it is far more personal.
Therefore, it is important that you manage the chances you get and mingle. Put the names of the people you meet in memory. When you get home or back to the hotel, add these people on LinkedIn. Before you know it, you have broadened your network with important decision-makers and you also have a personal relationship with these. They know who you are.
When you sit at a conference, don’t be afraid to chat with the person next to you. Try starting a conversation about something that does not concern business and professional life. Everyone appreciates getting to talk about anything but jobs a little from time to time.
4. Educate yourself
Education of all kinds is an excellent forum for networking and connecting contacts with new people. If you think that an education you offered to go on seems dull and less relevant – go anyway. You will definitely be able to meet exciting people that can be valuable in your job-seeking and future career.
Tell people you meet about yourself and spread the image of you as a professional and social. But of course, don’t be too self-centered.
On a course or training, you probably meet people at the same level as you. Thus, courses fit well if you want to establish contacts in other industries. If you want to take yourself up in the hierarchy, you possibly have even greater chances to meet the right people at a conference, where perhaps a more diversified selection of participants are.
Consider why it is important for you to network and what the goal is to come into contact with different people. Write lists of people you want to get to know or get in touch with. There may be someone you read about in the newspaper, listened to via podcast, or perhaps seen at a conference. Dare to contact those that you see as strategically important to get where you want. And remember that in the first place, think about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. You always want to think about how you can bring value to the other person. That way, the interaction becomes much more genuine and appreciated by the other person.
How do you use your network to get the next job?
Now that your network has grown, there are several ways to your next job. Either you can try getting a job by talking to your new contacts and looking for openings for new jobs. Keep track of what is said on LinkedIn, listen carefully when you go to fairs, etc. If you can get a new opportunity this way, you will have great chances to achieve your goals. Many openings are already filled before any job advertisement comes out when the right candidate was already in the network.
Another option is to seek vacancies at companies where you know that you have a good network of contacts. Sometimes it can suffice as little as a contact, but the more the better. References from the people inside the company you are looking to start at is a great advantage and can weigh heavily in competition for a vacant job.
Your network may, as I said, open the doors to your next job. But remember to prepare yourself as carefully for a possible interview, as if you had sought the job in the usual way with 100 competitors panty to the neck.
Why networking is important for job seekers
The truth is that most people get jobs via recommendations, and business is done between people who appreciate each other. Sure, education and knowledge are important, but it is not everything. To a great extent, your network is more important than competence in many cases.
Start with yourself
If you want to build a strong network as a job seeker, you must start with yourself. Business networking is about giving and sharing, so be generous with your time, your skills, and contacts.
Build your personal brand
Create a reputation for yourself as a generous and professional person who knows what they are talking about and establish yourself as an expert in your industry. Also, think about which energy you radiate. Try to be happy and positive. Few want to work with a negative person.
What is your area of expertise? You have a lot to win by building your personal brand, especially as an expert in the area you want to work within. Write blog posts, share interesting thoughts on LinkedIn, join other people’s podcasts or why not start your own YouTube channel where you discuss your expertise area and share your knowledge with others. Offer to talk at a conference or meetups. If you position yourself as an expert in your area increases the chance that others remember you and find you when they are looking for someone with your skills.
Don’t wait for others to reach out to you because that happens rarely. Instead, take your own initiative instead. Book a lunch or coffee with interesting people. Call someone you admire and ask if the person wants to be your mentor. Many business executives say they would like to be a mentor of young talent, the problem is just no one asked (assuming you are young of course).
Quality over quantity
Don’t know a lot of people? Do not worry. The interesting thing is not how big your network is but how to use it. Start with a few contacts and engage with them. Then you will soon have a growing network.
Step out of the comfort zone
In a social context, it is good to listen twice as much as you talk. You can also network even if you are an introvert. But to be really successful, you must also step out of your comfort zone. Contact new people, and spend time in new environments. The more you do it, the easier it will be.
Stay in touch
Social media is a good way to keep your contacts alive and to ensure your relationships do not slowly fade away and become forgotten. Interact with different people from time to time by commenting on posts and responding when asking for advice and help. People remember these things that.
Follow up with everyone you meet. There are so many who do not work to actively stay in touch after they have met a person and the relationship can quickly become forgotten.
Help others become successful
Successful networking begins with always being prepared to lift and recommend others in your network. Ask what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. By being prepared to give and share your own contact network, others in your surroundings will be more likely to recommend you next time. What Goes Around, Comes Around.
Next time you meet or email someone, ask if you can help them with something. You will be surprised how much you can get back in the long run.
Establish contacts and obtain knowledge of the job market
The education links to working life through a number of activities such as guest lectures, guest visits, internships, or suggestions for degree projects from employers outside the university. See all activities as an opportunity to start building your network already early on during your life.
By being active and asking questions, you map your opportunities and get better about which qualifications are important for the job you want. The working life connection shows job opportunities that your education can lead to. Therefore, see the activities as an important part of your coming working life. It gives you both knowledge and contacts that you can actively use when it is time for you to apply for a job.
Make your network bigger
Spend some time to develop your network. When the foundation is well done, your network will be able to grow. To get started and make your network bigger you can, for example:
- Think about which person is the smartest to invest in your network. Are the people who work in your industry, or people who in turn have very many contacts?
- Go on lectures and fairs in the area you are looking for a job within. Get in touch and talk to people there!
- Get in touch with someone you want to get to know better and suggest a lunch or similar
- Go through your Facebook and LinkedIn contacts carefully. Is there anyone who works in your industry? Ask your contact if she or he can introduce you to people who seem interesting.
- Do you have someone in your network that works in a company where you also want to work? Contact them and tell them that you are looking for a job and that you are interested in working at the company and with what.
Look up key people
Find out where and when different fairs, breakfast seminars, after work, and other events take place, and where your industry is moving. Go there and network, alone or along with a friend. Remember that the chances are good that you have common interests. It becomes a natural entrance to call. Tell people you’re looking for a job. On these occasions, it may be good to have business cards to distribute to people you’ve talked to.
Social media in the business world has revolutionized networking and it is now easier than ever to connect new contacts. Networking has proven to be extremely effective for job seekers to find new positions, but it also requires you to do the networking properly and strategically.
It is not uncommon for people to have +500 contacts on their business network on LinkedIn.
By broadening your network, you can increase your chances of establishing valuable contacts which can lead the way to your next dream job.