Searching for and applying to jobs on-line are only part of the equation in finding your next job. Certainly, that is a great way to look for a job, however that is not the only way. Many, many people find jobs through their network.

You will have an opportunity when applying for a job, and during an interview, if you have a personal connection, inside information, or knowledge about the company that you get from an in-person or ongoing conversation. Clients often ask where to start seeking these connections and how to build a network. Below are five ways to expand your network and opportunity for a new role in the future.

1. Meet for coffee or lunch weekly
Scheduling a coffee or lunch date with a former colleague or a new connection is a great way to network, enjoy time with a fellow professional, and discuss what you could potentially bring to a new employer. By setting a goal of doing this once per week, you hold yourself accountable for expanding your reach in your job search.

2. Attend a local networking meeting
There are all kinds of local networking organizations. Some meet weekly, others meet monthly and some meet virtually. Most networking groups allow newcomers to check out the organization one time prior to becoming a member. Possibly you have a former colleague or friend that is already a member, ask to attend as their guest. Take advantage of this opportunity with any groups in your area.

3. Connect with your Community Organizations
Most towns have a chamber of commerce or business network organization. These organizations typically have business after hours or morning business networking events. These events are designed to build connections. Set a goal to attend one of these each month and expand your circle of influence.

4. Build a relationship with an Executive Recruiter/Staffing Agency
Companies don’t always advertise jobs because they are strictly working with an Executive Recruiter or Staffing Agency to fill roles. Rather than paying one of their employees to review resumes, conduct interviews, and go through the hiring process, they contract with an Executive Recruiter or Staffing Agency. Let the Executive Recruiter and Staffing Agencies know that you are available for a new position—they may know of a job opportunity that isn’t public information yet.

5. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date
If you are actively seeking a new job because you lost your job, have been laid off, or are ready for a career move, then include that into your LinkedIn headline. Send at least five messages to connections each week and let them know you are ready to make a move, ask if their company has any openings, and tell them your most recent significant accomplishment. If there is someone you want to connect with that isn’t a first connection, ask for an introduction via one of your first connections.

Searching for a job takes time and patience. Set goals for yourself, track your progress, and change what isn’t working. You must work at your job search to see results! Be positive about your skill set, understand that you have strengths to bring to a new employer, be assertive in your job search and follow up with people you meet. Network, connect, and communicate to land your next job opportunity!