A Primer on Networking

  • Posted by: Jocelyn Hecht

Networking can be tricky business. Here are some tips to get noticed instead of ghosted!

Today more than ever, many positions don’t make it to job boards, and when they do, hiring managers can be overwhelmed with applicants. As a result, networking is imperative for an effective job search. And it’s a good idea to practice networking even when you’re not actively looking.

Here are some basic steps to plan your networking activity.

1. Figure out how you’re going to keep a record of your network, how you’re going to add to it, and how you’re going to use it efficiently. There are lots of mobile apps to help.

2. Who are your contacts? Don’t leave anyone out, even if you’re not sure how he or she might be helpful. Those contacts might come from work, associations, schools from elementary to university, family, church/synagogue, military, lawyers, bankers, merchants, social contacts, etc. You’d be surprised where some job leads come from!

3. Ask yourself; “What do I want to find out from these people?” Leads? More connections? Advice? Have an objective and a goal in mind before reaching out.

4. Write a script or have an outline to follow, and practice ahead of time. This will not only make your calls more efficient, it will help you evaluate and refine your objectives.

5. Take advantage of social media! Devise a strategy to use or not use social media to extend your reach. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are great if you use them each appropriately.

6. Don’t be afraid to use the phone. Too many people rely solely on email and texting but a phone call can be an incredibly effective networking tool, especially while meeting in person is still not easy to do.

7. Help your connections help you. Tell them how they can help in a tangible way. People respond best when they are asked for things they can actually do. And remember, be sure to try and return the favor by asking how you can assist your connections. Networking goes both ways.

8. Measure your progress and don’t confuse efforts with results. If you don’t seem to be getting what you were expecting, review what you’re asking or whom you’re contacting and make adjustments.

9. Get to know the professionals. Get to know recruiters you can trust and who specialize in your area of expertise. They may not always have the perfect position on tap at the very moment but it’s critical to stay in touch as new positions arise all the time. They can be an invaluable resource to you as a job seeker and an important part your network.

10. Finally, remember to send thank-you notes. I cannot stress this enough! Emails are fine, especially now when people are primarily working from home. Let people know if and how they’ve helped you. When you find that great job or make a career decision, spread the news. Your contacts will be happy to hear that they’ve been of assistance.

Networking doesn’t stop with accepting a job. Your network of contacts is useful on an ongoing basis, whether it be for questions about advancement, trends in the marketplace, or even the next step in your career.