Is Networking a Necessity for Today’s Job Seekers?
If you’ve been slacking on networking as part of your job search, it’s time to get back on track. Networking is especially important in today’s workforce, and particularly critical is social networking, as 85 percent of hiring managers use sites such as LinkedIn to look for potential candidates. Furthermore, 46 percent of men and 39 percent of women find their jobs through networking. To ensure you’re getting the most from your networking efforts, follow these tips:
1. Make networking fun.
Do you have plans to attend a networking event such as a conference? Great! Just be sure to have fun instead of stressing about meeting every other person there. Focus on meeting a few people and engaging in quality conversation. In fact, you should set a time limit for how long you’ll be there as there’s no need to stay the entire day. Giving yourself a time limit of an hour or even half an hour ensures you don’t dread the event and use your time wisely.
2. Pair up.
Ask someone you know to introduce you to folks at networking events or to mention your name to people they know who might be interested in serving as a mentor or coach. This takes the pressure off of just you to be the one to make approaches, and you can reciprocate in other similar situations.
3. Remember who’s who.
Even if you don’t plan to meet a lot of people at an event, you should still make notes on any business card you receive from a person after you’ve finished talking with them. Jot down a few unique points that you can speak to when you contact them later.
But wait. What about social networking? Isn’t that more important than in-person networking? It definitely can be. The good news is that it’s easy to adapt in-person tips to social networking. For example, join professional organizations and participate in virtual discussions on message boards. Again, set time limits for your discussions, and focus on connecting with just a few quality people instead of trying to meet everyone. Make sure to make and keep notes about these people for when you reach out to them later.