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Scan a job board, and you’d think that most companies advertise all of their openings on the leading job sites. While there are all many jobs posted, many jobs aren’t even posted. How are employers filling these positions? People are finding jobs by tapping their networks for opportunities. Networking is essential in learning of these opportunities before they are ever introduced to the public. Here is how you can use networking to land your ideal job.
Networking effectively requires consistency in order to be effective. Becoming attuned to the needs of your contacts and interacting with them regularly are both important in networking. Identifying offline and online opportunities to connect with others can produce wonderful results.
People do business primarily with people they are comfortable with being around. People tend to do business with people they know and trust. Resumes can only go so far in making an impression with a prospective employer. Having a relationship with the employer can do wonders in opening doors for a jobseeker.
Networking puts you ahead of other applicants. Companies are more likely to reach out to people already employed within their company for references. Being recommended by a colleague can make quite the impression on a recruiter.
You’ll know about opportunities before the public knows. Job leads are often a last resort in the hiring process. People that are in the meetings, departments and key positions within the company have the knowledge of internal positions. If a job is posted internally, a person within the organization is more likely to be able to share that with a contact as an insider.
When you enter an event, conference or gathering, make sure that you are working the room. You are introducing yourself to others, exchanging contact information, and letting people know what your goals are. There isn’t necessarily a need to disseminate resumes, nor should handing out cards be the primary goal. Making a good first impression is the focal point.
Using the social and professional networking sites can also produce great opportunities to meet people. Community job boards are also extremely useful to jobseekers. Community boards hosted by major jobsites can also produce valuable contacts. The Internet contains numerous sites dedicated to meetups and professional networking groups.
Connect on multiple connections with people you’ve met previously with events. One of the biggest mistakes people make is neglecting contacts after making them. Setting up a schedule to contact people in your network periodically will make it easier to seize opportunities as soon as they surface.
Be specific when contacting people in your network. Make sure that any requests you send to people are direct and specific. Be able to clearly state what it is you are looking for when contacting them. As a jobseeker, you should be prepared to send your qualifications when attempting to make a connection.
If at all possible, get a list of people who will be attending the event. Perform as much research on the people at the event as possible to set the stage for conversations and interactions. You should be prepared to explain what it is you do and your experience in the field.
Great places to network include conferences, social events, lectures, tradeshows, chamber of commerce meetings, galas and charity events. Events held at work are also additional opportunities to meet new contacts. Taking classes, joining professional organizations and remaining active in online networking can yield opportunities. Being consistent is the key to getting results.
Networking should be a part of any job seeking strategy. Since most jobs aren’t posted and advertised openly, jobseekers must be active in their networking processes. Scheduling time to network and getting into a routine will help you expand your network.
Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.
For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.