NETWORKING: The Most Important Tool in Job Search
The majority of job interviews and approximately 60% of jobs secured are attributed to networking in the job search. According to the 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Report, 40% of job seekers found jobs through personal contacts, while 21% found jobs through online social networks. Networking is defined as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business” by Merriam Webster. As a result, networking entails forming relationships with and utilizing those who can help you advance your job search. Your network contacts serve as a driving force in your job search.
Networking may appear to be difficult, but it is not. It takes time, effort, communication, and asking for information or help. The most difficult obstacles are overcoming rejection fear and approaching others. Although networking may necessitate approaching strangers, the majority of networking involves people introduced by a contact. You will almost never be cold calling.
People enjoy assisting others and welcome the opportunity to do so. Furthermore, people like to be recognized and looked up to for expertise. In most cases, politely asking for their assistance is appreciated.
Tidbits about networking:
- Contacts provide information that is useful for job searching and comprehension.
- Contacts refer you to people who can provide information to help you with your search.
- Contacts provide hiring managers with introductions from people they know and trust.
To network effectively, you must:
- Make a list of people you know and how they can help.
- Make your own networking business cards.
- Put your verbal and nonverbal communication skills to the test. Things like vocal tone and a genuine smile go a long way.
- Create a 30-60 second elevator pitch that highlights what you’re looking for, why you’re looking for it, and what you want from your contact.
- Use your elevator pitch to contact those on your list.
- Concentrate on developing relationships with your contacts and, if possible, assisting them. There is a universal law of reciprocation that states that those who are helped want to help others in return.
- Request a brief (10-15 minute) informational meeting about the position you want, an introduction to someone who can advise you about the position, and/or an introduction to the hiring manager. Because most people are willing to give advice, ask for advice rather than a job. There is a strong inner drive to keep one’s commitments consistently.
- Prepare intelligent questions about the position being sought.
- Take careful notes.
- Exchange business cards.
- Follow-up at the end of your meeting and on a regular basis after that.
Excellent contacts can be made through social networks and forums, in addition to personal contacts. People meet at these markets, and these meetings turn into networking opportunities. Join and participate in forums relevant to your field of expertise. Inform them of your interest and begin reaching out to them.