Ask any hiring manager to name the most dependable way to find new hires and they will tell you referrals and recommendations. No matter how polished your resume and cover letter, they can’t make as strong a statement as someone already in a company or industry giving your their endorsement. And to get those endorsements, you need to network more and network better. If you are new to the process or not getting the results you want, rely on these tips.
Introduce Value to Your Network
Too often people approach networking wondering “what can you do for me?” The better approach is to ask “what can I do for you?” Not only will this help you connect with a more valuable group of professionals, it allows you to show off some of the experience and expertise you want to demonstrate to employers.
Try to Make Quality Connections
Rather than reaching out to every relevant professional on LinkedIn or trying to meet every person at a professional conference, try to make meaningful connections with fewer people. It’s great to have a huge network, but if none of the members really know you, they won’t feel comfortable recommending you for a job. Focus your efforts on quality over quantity and you’ll get better results.
Make an Invitation
Lots of networking these days takes place online, but often this only leads to the kind of shallow networking we warned about in the previous point. Make it a priority to actually invite people to meet with you in person, over lunch, at their office, wherever you both feel comfortable. If you buy someone a meal, they are a lot more likely to remember you when they hear about a vacancy.
Stay on Top Of Your Connections
If you wait until you’re actively looking for a job to reach out to members of your network, don’t expect to get a very enthusiastic response. The better strategy is to regularly connect with valuable professionals in your network and keep them informed about the kinds of projects you’re working on or industry issues you’re following. If you’re already out of work, don’t make the focus of your network-building process simply finding a new job.
Connect Your Connections
Networking goes both ways. If you have made connections with exciting members of your field, make sure they’re connected to each other as well. That helps you provide the value we talked about in the first point, and helps all of you ultimately connect with more people.
This may sound unorthodox, but one of the best ways to grow and improve your network is to partner with a search firm that specializes in your industry. After all, these professional recruiters already have hundreds of connections with companies in your field and professionals just like you. Get the process started and begin reaping the rewards by contacting Beacon Search, Inc.