Who should be part of your network?
More than likely, you will find a job through who you know. So, it’s important to connect and network with as many people in as many parts of your life as possible. This list should include, but is not limited to: co-workers past/present, colleagues, managers/supervisors, clients/customers both past/present, business associates, alumni of your alma mater, personal acquaintances, acquaintances of your family/spouse/friends, neighbors, people you have met through volunteer and religious organizations, your gym, your kids, your parents, teachers/professors either past present and anyone you meet and have a conversation with about your job search/career path. Connect with all of these people on LinkedIn.
Why Network in your job search?
Most job seekers find help in their job search through their network. Your network can help with job leads and provide referrals to or insider information about companies you might be interested in working for. They can provide information on jobs/careers you might want to explore or what the job market is like in another region. Your network can give you advice on where to look for jobs, review your resume or help you make other connections.
How to Network?
Start by making connections and keep in touch. A simple email/text/phone call to say hello and check in is a great way to stay in touch. Online job search networking does work; LinkedIn and Facebook can help you get in touch with other individuals at specific companies, with colleges or in a certain geographic area. If you are a college graduate, your school may have an alumni career network you can access. When networking with others you don’t know, be sure that you prepare and ask specific questions/state reasons why you want to connect. Are you looking for company information? Do you want to know about job opportunities? Do you want to learn about what they do for a living? Be specific in what you ask.
Networking in person is a great way to meet others. If you belong to a professional association, attend a meeting or breakfast/happy hour, you will find that many of the participants have the same goals you do and will be glad to exchange business cards. If your college alma mater holds alumni networking events, be sure to attend. There are many different types of networking events you can attend. Check out LinkedIn Groups, join those where you have interest, those groups often meet in-person, attend those events.
The bottom line is that there are many ways to network and your network is the path to your next job.