Network, Network, Network – the most important three words in job search. According to a report from ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. You know that old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”and this could not be more true for finding your next job. While “who you know” has always been important, it has never been easier to leverage your network with services like LinkedIn and other social networks. But more importantly, it’s not only who you know, but also who knows you. Successfully leveraging your social networks in job search requires that you focus on those individuals who know first hand about you and what you’ve accomplished in your career.
Don’t have a network? Yes you do. Even if you don’t have a LinkedIn account (hard to believe) or don’t have a “network list”, you do have a network and your network is one of your best resources for finding a job. Time to organize and leverage your network.
Your network is made up of:
Direct Network: These are people you know first hand.
- High School and College classmates
- Co-workers (and former co-workers)
- House of Worship
Indirect Network: – These are people who have something in common with you.
- Other people who went to your High School or College
- People who worked at the same companies as you (but you did not know them)
- People who work at companies where you would like to work
- People who are successful in the same industry (or company) where you would like to work
Building and Maintaining Your Network:
- Your Need a Tool – Keeping a list of your contacts / network on scraps of paper is probably not the way to go. While I highly recommend using LinkedIn, there are alternatives such as Meetup.com, Opprtunity.com, even Facebook and Google + (see LinkedIn Alternatives for Online Resumes). Pick your tool and get comfortable with it before you continue with step 2 below.
- Make Your List – Start with your “Direct Network” from above and then continue on to your “Indirect Network” (the best source for your indirect network is LinkedIn).
- Prioritize Your Network – Not everyone in your network was created equal. Some people have more value (those who know you best or have the best connections) while others are not as valuable (mostly your indirect network). Use a ranking system to prioritize the list so that you know who to focus on first.
- Create Your Networking Plan and Implementation Tips – Now you need to decide how you will leverage your network.
- Create your networking message. Basically, what do you want the people in your network to do for you? This should be outlined in an informal message. While 80% of your message can be consistent across members of your network, be sure to include some personalized stuff (how’s the job, how’s your family, etc.).
- Remember, Networking is a two way street. Don’t expect everyone in your network to spend their time working for you. Try to give back when you can, make your communications two way. Networking is all about building relationships.
- Targeted Opportunities – Sometimes there is a specific opportunity where someone in your network may be able to help you. Give these the highest priority. Alternatively, when a potential opportunity arises, leverage the research you did on your network to figure out who may be able to help.
- Manage your time – It’s not about how many people you contact in your network, it’s about the value for the time spent networking. Leverage your network in a way that is productive.
- Other Networking Resources – Facebook and Twitter can also be leveraged in a way similar to LinkedIn. Use your time on Facebook to informally network in a way that will enhance your relationships while leveraging your contacts.
- Additional Resources:
- Creating Your Network on LinkedIn.
- 5 More Tips for Leveraging Your Social Networks in Your Job Search
- [easyazon_link asin=”1605095222″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”caree07-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected[/easyazon_link]
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Good luck in your search,