Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Do you know what the opposite of networking is? It is "NOT working." Gone are the days when people used to circle the relevant job ads in the newspapers and go for an interview to try their luck and get their dream job. Nowadays, you have to work on your networking skills to get the job you want. It's unlikely that you will succeed if you do not build meaningful relationships with other people. It's not about how many people you know, it's about how many people know you. You need to be the person others want to know. Build a positive reputation and good standing in the eyes of others to get a good job.
Why is networking so important in the job search?
No one is hired solely on the basis of their professional qualifications and expertise. Aside from being on the merit list as a potential candidate, employers would rather hire someone in their immediate circle than an outsider. Employers always fill most positions, including the top positions in the company, with someone the employer trusts, rather than a stranger. Some important reasons why networking is important to getting the job you want are as follows.
People like to do business with people they can trust and whose positive attitude and charisma match their own.
A cover letter or resume alone will not qualify you or convince the employer of the job.
When you look at the job posting and apply for the job, you will be in great competition with many qualified people who are probably better than you. Effective networking can help you avoid this competition, and it would be much easier for the employer to select from a few applicants.
Sometimes the job you are looking for is not even advertised. Good contacts with the right people will help you find job openings, and you can find out about the job description before it is posted. This way you can prepare yourself better.
So now you know why it's important to network? The most important thing is to make networking a priority. Your entire job search should be based on effective networking.
Tips for effective networking.
Are you hesitant to make contacts because you think it might seem pushy or like you are using others for your own purposes? Well, you do not have to promote yourself to every person you meet and brag about your successes. It is best if you build lasting and deep relationships with them, then they will automatically be compelled to know your story.
Even if you are a shy person, you socialize all the time in your everyday life and know more people than you think. You socialize when you stand in line at your child's school event or introduce yourself to other parents, when you run into an old school friend, or when you talk to your neighbor. All of these people can help you take your job search to the next level. Below are some tips on how to use your network effectively.
1- Take the initiative and make contact.
If you are thinking about making contacts or making small talk with an influential person, do not think twice, just do it. Do not brag about waiting for the opportunity to fall into your lap. You need to start using the opportunity in your favor today. As the saying goes, luck is with the bold.
You may be too intimidated or too shy to start a conversation with a person who is in a better position than you, and you may be too afraid that you will not get a response. Do not let fear of something you think might happen hold you back. You should be the one to make the first move. It's only fair if you do not get a response or if the other person shows some reluctance toward you. At least now you know for sure that you do not want to work with a person who is so rude anyway.
2- Try to build a positive relationship without sending out your resume.
A relationship is not about selling yourself immediately and promoting yourself as soon as an opportunity presents itself. A positive relationship is about getting to know the person and making a connection before you ask for a favor.
This is best done by asking simple questions about the person's business and showing interest and enthusiasm for their work. It's best to consider the setting and location of the meeting; however, a company event or exhibition is better suited for business meetings.
3- Never ask directly for a job. Ask for advice.
Do not be nervous about talking to others and making a connection. Ask others for advice on your job search and they will be happy to help. People often feel good and satisfied when they help others, so do not hesitate to ask them for advice. Most people would probably like to brag about their experiences and difficulties at this stage.
This can also give you the motivation you need to find the job you want. Never ask directly for a job. Do not give your resume to a random person or a stranger you meet for the first time.
4- Offer to help others.
We humans are social creatures, and it is in our nature to connect with others. Without making those meaningful connections and networks, you will fall into depression and feel lonely. So you have a lot of existing connections and relationships, but the goal is to revitalize those networks and make some new ones to get ahead in your job search.
Networking can be a difficult task at first, as you'll need to build a lot more personal trust and meet new people than you would in an online job search, but it pays off in the end. Be there for other people in good times and bad, and they will also be there for you when you need them. Stay motivated and focused throughout the job search. It's all about give and take. Remember to ask others if you can help them and they will likely return the favor.
5- Take time to make personal connections.
Do not rush into relationships if you do not have time to talk in person. If you have met a person online, you should ask for a follow-up meeting to get to know them in person. Most people are reluctant to meet in person in the post-pandemic business world. You should always respect a person's preferences if they are not willing to meet in person. Do not push too hard for a face-to-face meeting.
6- Make networking a priority.
Networking is not a side thing or something you do in your spare time. It should be your top priority and must be done on a daily basis. Keep your contacts alive and stay connected constantly, not just when you need something. Introduce different people in your network and arrange informal meetings to liven up your existing relationships. Good networking will help you tap into the hidden job market that is not advertised anywhere.
7- Use social networking and other online resources for effective networking.
One of the most effective ways to network is through social media profiles. You should build and maintain your presence on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. These social sites help you make important contacts, and you can keep up with new information and trends in your field. An active profile helps employers understand you better. Do not post your personal information publicly, but keep it private, as most employers will scour your social profiles during their job search. Be aware of your social media presence and only show what you want to be seen.
8- Stay in touch and keep up to date.
Try to constantly stay connected with people in your network. Do not just stop after a one-time conversation. Keep posting things that are of interest to them. Send them an interesting article or something related to what you talked about when you first met. You can keep in touch by sending your contacts monthly emails about your job search. That way, they know you are still looking, and if something comes up, they'll let you know.
Before you end the conversation with people in your network, make them feel comfortable and always ask for a follow-up conversation.
If you follow these helpful networking tips, you can easily get the job you want, and you can call yourself a good networker if you even manage to get a referral to a manager on the hiring team.
What to avoid when networking.
The most common mistakes you should avoid when building your network are:
Never be selfish and build the relationship only for your short-term benefit.
Do not waste your time building a network with people who are only looking out for their advantage.
Never break trust or share sensitive information.
Do not enter into a relationship unless you plan to help them as well.
Stay in touch with your network and do not neglect it, even if you are busy. Make time for the people in your network.
Do not break contact with a person after they have helped you in some way. Bad word-of-mouth is common, and you will not be able to restore your reputation once it's lost.