In business it is common to review best practices to be sure that your company is utilizing the best methods available to accomplish its work. The same principle holds true for job search. There are best practices that you can employ to ensure that you are being effective in the time that you spend seeking new employment.
Since networking has been proven to be the most effective job search method, it’s useful to take a look at some best practices in this arena.
- 1. Network in a way that is comfortable for you. There are many books on networking that have been published, and many of the tips can be beneficial, but if you try to network in a way that does not fit who you are, you are likely to give up. So if going to networking meetings and engaging in chitchat while passing out the business cards does not suit your style, try a different approach. You may be the type of person who is better at showing what you can do than talking about it. If so, you might want to volunteer in the local chapter of your professional association and participate in committees or greet people at local events. By getting involved you will of necessity get to know people. This can be an unconventional way of networking, but it can still get the job done if you are able to engage people in your job search after you have had a chance to demonstrate your work ethic.
- 2. 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.
- 3. Target your networking efforts. With the advent of social networking and sites like LinkedIn, it is easy to rack up a large amount of networking contacts, but if you are not judicious in accumulating networking contacts, you can end up with a huge network of contacts who are not useful to you. You should focus on contacts who are in your field because these are the people who can help you most when you are ready to make a career move.
- 4. Don’t over-rely on virtual relationships. Even though connecting with people on social networking sites is highly recommended, it cannot replace in person relationships. Not only should you foster your in-person relationships by going out to lunch with contacts and periodically touching base by phone, but you should also strengthen your virtual relationships by turning them into in person relationships through geographically based meetings, using sites like Twtvite and http://tweetup.meetup.com/.
- 5. Join or renew your membership in a professional association. One of the best places to network is your professional association. The people that you meet in this setting are people in your field, most of whom are employed at different organizations. It’s best to cultivate your network in a professional association before you plan to look for another position so that your network is already in place before you need it to help you land new employment.
To learn more about how to network and use LinkedIn for your job search, speak to a career coach at 877-743-9521 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.