5 Tips for Successful Professional Networking That Can Land You New Job Opportunities
April 21st, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson
For many job seekers, the idea of networking is nerve wracking and intimidating. But when you boil it down, job networking is merely relationship building, something that everybody has experience with. You’re building relationships and important connections with family members, friends and coworkers, as well as others you meet on your journey through life, every day.
Whether you’re hoping to land a new job or you’re just keeping your options open for the future, being able to build relationships with professionals in your desired field is a wonderful skill to possess—and could give you a leg up on your competition.
To help you make successful connections and build your network, below we offer you five helpful professional networking tips.
1. Utilize LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site on the planet, making it an incredible resource for anybody looking to grow their network.
Get started by searching for and connecting with people you’ve actually worked with, including current or former coworkers and supervisors. In addition, connect with former mentors, teachers or professors. This will help you build up a base of first-tier connections.
Then, go a step further by identifying people who work in the field you want to enter or who are decision makers at the companies you’d like to work for. Take a peek at their connections to see if you have any in common. If you discover that you do, reach out to the mutual connection and ask for an introduction.
2. Conduct a self-assessment.
When networking, you want to be able to show the experience, knowledge, skills and character qualities you possess. So, taking an honest inventory of your strengths and areas of opportunity could be incredibly helpful.
If you’re not sure where to begin, consider taking a skills assessment to learn more about yourself. Once you have identified your strengths and opportunities for growth, you’ll be able to network more precisely with your new connections.
3. Practice talking about yourself.
Once you’ve identified possible connections and started growing your network, you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable talking about who you are as a professional. Of course, it can often be more difficult than many people think to verbally express who they are, what they do and what they have to offer.
Take time to craft a short, yet detailed elevator speech. Whether it is a chance run-in at a coffee shop or a special event, being able to quickly and succinctly sell yourself is a valuable skill to possess.
4. Stay in touch with your network.
Even if you’ve found a new position or are happy where you are, you should nurture your network to keep yourself top-of-mind and relevant.
Continue to engage with their posts on social media and to maintain a line of communication through email, phone or the occasional in-person get together. If new opportunities arise, they’ll be more apt to think of you to fill the role.
5. Unlock the hidden job market.
Unfortunately, many job vacancies never hit the market. These unadvertised jobs are known as the “hidden job market”, with roles often being filled through internal referrals or perhaps the help of a staffing agency.
Active networking and relationship network management can help you unlock the hidden job market. Through your newly made connections you may learn about jobs that haven’t been made public.
Remember: Networking = Building Relationships
Networking is a fantastic way for job seekers to boost their hiring profiles. Through utilizing LinkedIn, conducting a self-assessment, practicing talking about yourself, staying in touch with your network and unlocking the hidden job market, you’ll position yourself to land a job and keep your eye on what’s happening.