Effective networking: Itís easier than you think

Although the general consensus is that most jobs are found via networking, very few job seekers actually understand (or are comfortable executing) what it takes to do this effectively.

When I ask job seekers, “How many people are in your network and how often are you speaking or communicating with them?” they admit that little to no time has been spent working their network.

The bottom line for making networking work is to help those in your network help you. That’s basically it…really.

Here are some time-proven tips that any job seeker can use to vastly improve their chances of finding good opportunities and landing an interview:

Networking is Communication – with family members, friends, neighbors, business associates, clients, club members and yes, even all of those parents from your children’s sports teams. You shouldn’t need to create a network the day after you are laid off, because you already have one! Start with your existing network and grow it from there.

Tell Your Story Effectively – by providing everyone in your network with the following information: what you love to do, what type of position you are seeking, for which of the companies that offer such positions you want to work (email your network contacts with a list of your top 10 or 20 target employers and update this list as necessary). With this knowledge, those in your network can do a much more effective job of assisting you.

Stay in Touch, Follow Up – with phone calls, in-person meetings, emails and social networking. After you have made the initial contact to advise everyone in your network of your current status, follow up with them at least once every three to four weeks. Provide an update. Don’t ever assume that everyone in your network is up-to-date regarding your job search activities. Let them know with whom you have interviewed and your impressions of those interviews.

Give to Get – by volunteering. This could be volunteering to do anything from being a little league coach (each team consists of about 12 players and that means at least 12 parents coming to the games) to assisting a local non-profit organization. Not only do you get a great feeling by helping others through volunteering, but you are exposed to a whole lot of people who just might know the president or HR manager of one of the companies on your target list of employers.

With the large amount of candidates for virtually every job opening, you will need the power and resources of your network if you want to significantly improve the chances of having your resume find its way into the hands of a hiring manager, who may have a stack of 500 resumes to sift through on their desk.

Networking is like customer service. With so few people really doing it well, it is not that difficult to stand out from the crowd.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 6:33 PM, 04.19.2011