It’s not always about what you know, but it’s about who you know. Networking is so important because the more relationships you form with people, the better chances you will have to finding a job. Here are some tips on how to successfully expand your network circle and increase your chances of landing the right opportunity:
1. Talk to everyone inside and outside of work: Whether it is in a professional or casual environment, always let people know that you are looking for a job. Do not ask them directly for a position, but tell them about your career goals, aspirations, and what kind of job or company you have dreamed about working for. The main idea is to have people keep you in the back of their minds. So when there is a job opening, they will remember what you told them and possibly refer you.
2. Get to know the right people: Although it is important to let as many people know that you are currently looking for a job, it is also important to talk to the people who have authority in their current position. These people include hiring managers, supervisors, owners, assistants, HR employees, and long time trusted employees. If you network with any of these people, you are one step closer to landing an opportunity because those are the people who have the influence or power to decide who to hire.
3. Attend professional social meetings and conferences: There are many events that are designed for networking and meeting new people. Expand your network by attending these events and improve your socialization and mingling skills. Many people who attend these gatherings have authority in some way or know someone who have the power to hire candidates.You want to look and act professional in order to give a good impression. So suit up, turn on your social game and meet people!
4. Hand out business cards (as well as collect other people’s business cards): People will take you more seriously if you hand out your business card at a professional networking event. It shows initiative and that you are worth something. It is also very important to ask them for their business card so you can keep in touch. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on high quality cards, you can easily design it on Microsoft Word and print out a few for the event.
5. Keep in touch: So you’ve spoken to everyone, gotten to know the right people and collected their contact information. The best thing to do next is to keep in touch with them so they remember who you are. This must be done professionally so do not add them on Facebook, Twitter or any kind of social media where your personal life is displayed. The best professional social network, and also another way to expand your circle of people, is to add them on LinkedIn. You can correspond with the people you’ve met through there or by email. Let them know that it was nice meeting them and reiterate what you two talked about and how you were interested in what they said. Be polite and eventually they may refer you to a position if something comes up.