You’ve heard it before. Most people get their jobs through networking. If networking seems overwhelming to you given everything else that you have to do in your life, try these six easy steps to grow your network today.
1. Start with people you know. If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, start with your comfort zone by contacting people who already know and like you. People who know and like you will be willing to help you. Let people who you know from your neighborhood, house of worship, community organizations, and previous jobs know that you are looking for new employment. And make sure that they know what type of work you are looking for.
2. Ask for referrals to people that you don’t know. Ask the people in your current network to pass your name along to people in their networks who may know of openings that would suit your skill set. Then set up phone or in-person meetings with these new contacts to talk about what you have to offer. Be sure to have your resume ready if you are asked for it.
3. Look up former bosses and colleagues on LinkedIn and connect to them. You can use the Advanced Search function on LinkedIn to find people that you previously worked with. You can search by company name to find work associates, and you can also search by people’s names. This is a quick way to grow your network on LinkedIn and update these contacts on what you have been doing and what you are looking for now.
4. Target companies that you want to work for and identify hiring managers at those companies using social media. With Jigsaw.com you can search for companies by industry, number of employees, and location. Armed with this information, you can narrow down your list of companies that would hire people with your skills and then find hiring managers at those companies that you can network with. You can cross reference the names of the hiring managers on LinkedIn and Twitter to connect to them virtually.
5. Check LinkedIn to see if anyone in your network is connected to the organization that has the job opening that you are interested in. You can use the search bar at the top of the page and then click Companies on the dropdown menu to search for the company name. LinkedIn will then tell you who in your network works at that company. If some of the people who come up in the search are your second or third level contacts, you can ask your first level connections to introduce you.
6. Join groups on LinkedIn related to your field and reach out to people who are in those groups and invite them to join your network. Regularly check the group updates to see who has posted interesting information and then send invitations to those who consistently share solid content. This will fill your network with people who are savvy about your field.
By following these six steps you can grow your network over time. You will develop a lifetime network that will be valuable to you throughout the course of your career.
To learn more about how to network and use LinkedIn for your job search, sign up for the LinkedIn Strategies for Executive Job Seekers webinar above.