Networking is an essential aspect of any job search. In fact, statistics show that up to 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. This means that if you’re not actively networking, you may be missing out on valuable job opportunities.
What is Networking?
Networking is the process of building and maintaining professional relationships. This can include attending networking events, connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, or simply reaching out to your existing contacts to ask for advice or referrals. The goal of networking is to build a network of contacts who can provide you with valuable information, advice, and job leads.
Why is Networking Important in Your Job Search?
There are several reasons why networking is important in your job search:
- Access to Unadvertised Job Openings
As mentioned earlier, a significant percentage of jobs are filled through networking. This is because many companies prefer to hire candidates who come recommended by someone they trust. When you network, you have the opportunity to meet people who work in your industry or field, and they may know of job openings that haven’t been advertised yet. This gives you a significant advantage over other job seekers who are only applying to jobs that have been posted online.
- Valuable Information and Advice
Networking can also provide you with valuable information and advice that can help you in your job search. For example, if you’re interested in a particular company, you may be able to connect with someone who works there and learn more about the company culture, hiring process, and what they look for in candidates. This information can help you tailor your job search and application to better fit the company’s needs.
- Improved Job Search Skills
Networking can also help you improve your job search skills. When you network, you have the opportunity to practice your elevator pitch, ask for feedback on your resume or cover letter, and learn about interview techniques. These skills can be invaluable when you’re applying to jobs and can give you a competitive edge over other candidates.
- Expanded Professional Network
Finally, networking can help you expand your professional network. This can be beneficial even if you’re not currently looking for a job. Building relationships with professionals in your industry can provide you with opportunities to collaborate on projects, learn new skills, or even mentor others. Additionally, your professional network can be a valuable source of information and advice throughout your career.
Tips for Effective Networking
Now that you understand the importance of networking in your job search, here are some tips to help you network effectively:
- Be proactive: Don’t wait for networking opportunities to come to you. Seek out opportunities to attend events or connect with professionals online.
- Be genuine: When networking, focus on building genuine relationships with others. Don’t approach networking as a transactional process, but rather as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Be prepared: Before attending a networking event or reaching out to a contact, make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you can add value to the relationship.
- Follow up: After meeting someone, be sure to follow up with a thank you note or email. This can help to strengthen the relationship and keep you top of mind.
- Offer value: When networking, look for ways to add value to the relationship. This can be as simple as sharing an article or offering to introduce someone to a contact in your network.
In conclusion, networking is a critical aspect of any job search. It can provide you with access to unadvertised job openings, valuable information and advice, improved job search skills, and an expanded professional network. By being proactive, genuine, prepared, and offering value, you can build strong professional relationships that can help you achieve your career goals.