Despite tons of online job boards, networking is the most prominent way hiring managers bring new employees on board. Networking is no longer something you should put off or get to later; you need to develop a networking skill set that gets you out there. These five tips help you become better at getting to know employers on your job search.
1. Maintain Contact
Perhaps the most important networking skill you need involves keeping in touch with the colleagues in your closest circle. Don't just touch base when you're on a job search. Consider contacting your core group of people every three months. Send each person a quick email or a voicemail to say hello, ask what's going on, and pose a question or two about some piece of industry news. Make a connection and talk about something that's a mutual interest between the two of you.
2. Try to Help
When you talk to someone in your network, offer to help in any way you can. Just a simple sentence in an email is all you need to ask someone if they need help. Insert the question after sending your contact a link to the latest news article about your industry or alma mater. Helpfulness is a good networking skill to have because someone may feel like returning the favor at a later date, which could lead to a lucrative job offer.
3. Grow Constantly
If you're not growing, you're stagnating. Always try to grow your network, and build professional relationships whenever you can. You might feel put off by this networking skill at first, but once you practice, it becomes easier. Join LinkedIn groups, post blogs, develop your own personal brand with a website, and post stuff to your social media accounts. Stay active to find new people because you never know who may put in a good word for you.
4. Recognize Your Huge Network
Your network may entail hundreds more people than you think. Your network is more than just former colleagues, supervisors and managers. The best networkers realize everyone they meet has the potential to be a networking contact. Remember that you need contacts to get the inside scoop on the best jobs available. Nearly three-fourths, or 71 percent, of HR professionals surveyed in early 2016 say that employee referrals are the best way to find viable candidates for positions.
5. Communicate Honestly
One final networking skill to obtain includes honest communication. Honesty is the best policy when you're on the job hunt. Don't be afraid to tell your network to please keep an eye out for you when you need help as you search for an opportunity. Know that people enjoy helping others. When it's time for someone in your network to respond to your call to action, the right person should deliver.
Gradually learn a networking skill or two until you feel more comfortable in the field. Your hard work pays off eventually, but it may seem difficult to recognize that fact when you're not even looking for a new job. Rest assured that your networks will come into play when you need them the most though.
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