The social-media charged marketplace is making connections even more apparent and necessary. Online job postings now attract more candidates than ever. Online professional groups share ‘leads and feeds’. With companies now receiving anywhere from 100 to 400 resumes for advertised positions, even the best candidates can get lost in the pile.
Interestingly, an important fact remains: almost 80% of job-openings go unposted. Word of mouth is faster. Personal recommendations are more trusted. Some companies don’t want to go through recruiters. Hiring managers simply seek referrals from trusted colleagues, clients, professional associations.
Therefore, personal networking must remain a priority.
Need another reason to continue networking? Consider this. All business environments have changed. People are using new lingo, talking about new issues. Networking and connecting with people on an ongoing basis helps you stay current and relevant.
So how to begin networking? Here are some suggestions:
1. Reach out to those people who reached to you. The people who reached out first after your departure, truly want to help you. See who they can refer you to, and have them pre-empt your call with one of their own. That way the call is much easier to make.
2. Consider your immediate social circle. Everybody knows someone. Friends, neighbors and relatives all present connection possibilities. Chances are they know somebody who will be willing to talk to you.
3. Join a professional network such as Linked In (or a series of them). Be sure your profile touts your professional abilities and accomplishments. Once you are a part of this group, start searching to connect with people you know. Link to them, search their connections, request introductions to people. See which professional associations other people belong to, and join them.
4. Volunteer for a cause. You’ll be interacting with Board Members, local companies and fellow volunteers who all have their own connections. (be sure to list this on your resume)
5. Join a local board of trade or business organization. Remember, people lead to people. Chances are, they’ll lead to someone who can help you with your career search.
A word of caution about social media and social media networking. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook have the power to reach many people. They also have the power to bring a career down quickly. Be careful of what you post. Many hiring managers check these sites to get a better idea of the candidates they are considering; your weekend’s activities will not advance your cause.
Networking is vital, even if you are gainfully employed. Connections lead to new business, new partnerships, and building profiles. A solid network is a great safety net, should you need to job hunt.
So get out there. Formulate your 10 second elevator speech about what you’re great at. And then start spreading the word about something important: you.