In the middle of a job search? Networking pays off!

Is hunting for a job really all about who you know? No, not all the time, but it sure does help. In my role as a sourcing & diversity specialist, I often find myself stressing to job seekers how important it is to make appropriate connections that will assist in their job search. If you’re searching, I’d typically advise you that, if you’re not already a member, it’s a good idea to join networks like LinkedIn or Facebook . Look for pages or groups devoted to the companies you’re interested in working with. I also devote much of my time sharing information about American Family, including our company structure, culture, position types, tasks/qualifications and other nice-to-know stuff, such as benefits and flexible work schedules.

So, who gets the job? Obviously, your skills and qualifications for the role need to be a good match, as well as your cultural fit with our organization and company values. Beyond that, who lands the ever-so-desired offer? Now, more than ever, landing an interview and then an offer is a competitive business. It’s a time when a job posting can produce upwards of 100 to 200 applicants within a few days or a week (not all qualified, of course). The way to rise to the top is NETWORKING. Know your skills and know how to network. I’ve witnessed this more times than I can count- it really does produce job offers.

So, how does networking really work? The key to networking is finding the right people to connect with and then sharing some brief information about who you are, what you can do and what your interests are, in hopes that you can make a connection. Finding commonalities with people will help them remember you and even cause them to recommend you to someone else, who may be just the person you need to know. I see this happen every day as I’m making connections for job seekers with our recruiters (staffing specialists), who in turn work with our managers, who hire for positions within the company. Just within the past couple of months, I’ve seen several job offers extended and accepted as a result of connections made through our LinkedIn Careers group and inquiries over the American Family Careers Facebook page, for example.

I know there are so many variables that come into play regarding career opportunities, from the type of position you want, whether or not you’d like to relocate, and most importantly, how the timing works out. Networking can help you spread the word about the type of work you want, where and when. And you never really know when it might pay off for you.

Here are a few of my favorite networking tips. When having a conversation with someone:

-Be brief. Avoid too much small talk and make your points
-Set an agenda for your conversation, if only for yourself. You’ll stay on point.
-Keep yourself in front of your connections. Don’t forget to thank people for meeting with you.
-Search online groups or discussions to find industry professionals you might meet
-Pay it forward – help others and they will help you

Lisa

4 Comments

  1. Todd Chesbro
    Posted April 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Lisa,
    I couldn’t agree more. My job was recently eliminated after working for a large insurance carrier for 24 (four days short of 25) years. Most of my job hunting has been networking with people. Many people that I did business with outside the company and using LinkedIn to re-connect with them. Without LinkedIn it would have been more difficult to track down all of those people. I have had almost all of my activity thus far generated from networking. I haven’t landed any job yet but I’m very sure that my next job will be found this way. Thanks.

  2. Bernard Seah
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely true! I never knew the power of networking until not too long ago when I got a job without an interview just because I’ve worked with the organization before and the position wasn’t even posted to the public!

  3. Posted April 26, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    These days, Having a good active network is like the golden rule, if you really want to find job openings. As 75% of openings are unadvertised.

    That way I wish that I created my network of contacts years before the economy crashed. So I am like one of the many IT Professional out there there still today looking for new employment, after being laid off from my last employer.

  4. Teresita Torrence
    Posted May 20, 2010 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I am a true believer of Networking, this works in all areas of your life but can be particularly valuable when job hunting. People will be more inclined to look out for you if you have been there for them. Whenever you can lend a hand, do so. The more people you know, the better your chances of making helpful connections. Opportunities are all around you. Family members and current friends are rich sources of employment referrals, of course, but try to actively seek out other connections. Get to know the people on your block, at your church, at your children’s school and extracurricular activities, and let them know that you are job hunting.

    Don’t forget a good attitude and sincerity can go a long way


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