You’ve heard a thousands times that networking is the best way to find a new job and those who have “good” connections are the “lucky” candidates. They are the ones who hear from their network about potential job leads. Given these circumstances, if you don’t have contacts who can recommend you and refer you to potential new opportunities, you are lacking a critical factor for success in today’s job market. Being known to those who can appreciate you and hire you is a competitive advantage.
You can begin cultivating networking relationships at any time, especially when you are too busy to invest in your network because your work, or life in general, is too demanding. This is exactly when you can offer advice, give your help and, for example, have access to employee-only resources, such as when and where a division will be hiring. Established contacts are often more productive because relationships grow as two parties share experiences over time. You want to have many strong connections in case you need them during a future job search. You can further enhance the value of your individual connections by choosing to pursue relationships purposefully among well-networked individuals who are generous contacts. By being a giver yourself, you can increase your value to others in your network. Then when you need help, others will remember and be more apt to reciprocate.
Good Networker Is a Top Strategy for Career Success
Not only does this make good sense in terms of the professional satisfaction dervived from mentoring others and exchanging ideas, but it also generates lifetime benefits for career advancement. Networking is both a positive job searching strategy and the most effective and efficient method to prevent job searching tragedy. Your network is career insurance: connections refer and recommend you, providing early access to unadvertised jobs. You should network with a purpose — to continuously add new targeted contacts and steadily nurture your existing relationships in order to have the right connections when the time comes that you need to leverage these to identify a new career challenge.
Aim for Quality Over Quantity
Don’t just “shoot the moon” and link to any person and everyone when you cross paths. The value of connecting diminishes when you indiscriminately connect. After all, you are known by the company you keep and may be judged by your relationships. Just having a name or saying you have met someone is far less valuable and usually less productive than if you actually have a deep enough relationship for someone to not only pass along a lead to you, but to also personally recommend you to the hiring decision-maker and follow up with you and the employer.
Stay on your contacts’ radar screens so they volunteer your expertise and great new opportunities seem to find you. In today’s world of social media, effective networking results in attracting unsolicited leads whether or not you are an official candidate. Rather than having to respond to job postings or submiting their credentials, if you have the right networking contacts, you will be more likely to attract new opportunities and capture employers’ attention. There is no better career and job search strategy than the one that generates a steady stream of desirable new challenges; networking purposefully is that solution.
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© Debra Feldman, 2010
Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior-level executive job search campaigns with career insurance, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for Networking Purposefully™ and expediting stalled job searches — executed with high energy and savvy panache — connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Learn more about her groundbreaking techniques that compress job searches from months into weeks. Contact Debra now at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent!