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Searching for a job can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be. If you focus your job search efforts on networking, you may find a job a lot quicker. Believe it or not, you already have established a network that consists of family, friends, colleagues, aquaintances, and your social media connections. Networking can sound intimidating, but it really shouldn’t be.

Let’s start with the basics, what is networking when you are searching for a job?

Networking is nothing more than talking to people; getting to know someone better, then building a relationship with that person. You network every day, you just don’t realize it. For example, have you been at a school function for your child and began speaking with other parents? This is networking. Has your friend introduced you to one of their friends? This is networking. Have you had a conversation with someone while waiting in line? This is networking. I think you get the idea of networking. For some reason when it comes to job searching, job seekers are not comfortable with networking. Networking should not be intimidating, you are simply building relationships with people. One tip to remember: you do not want to be annoying or aggressive about promoting yourself; this will be a turn off with anyone you try to network with. Networking is not just about promoting yourself, you have to build a relationship.

Networking is one of the best ways to land a job. Anyone you meet, whether online or in person, can assist you in your job search. You should be spending 60% of your job search time networking with people online and offline. You may be asking yourself, why should I spend that amount of time talking to people instead of going through a job board and submitting resumes. The answer is very simple, not all job openings are advertised by employers. You read that right, companies do not list all of their job openings on job boards. This is why networking is so important; making real valuable connections that are in your industry can prove to be a better benefit to you than spending hours online searching job boards.

Building an effective network can help you in your career for years to come. Once you have a solid network in place, this needs to become something you do consistently to build the relationships. You cannot just connect with people on LinkedIn, as an example, you must interact and build that relationship. You need to view it as you would a friendship.

Why is Networking a great way to find a job?

  • A company will get hundreds of resumes for one of their job listings, that is a lot of competition. When you network and develop a relationship with someone that works for the company already, now you are a referred job candidate. You just jumped to the top of the resume pile.
  • The position that is a pefect match to your qualifications may not even be advertised. When you network with people in your industry, this can lead to information about job openings that otherwise you would not of known about.
  • How much can a hiring manger really learn about you and your skills simply from a resume? Not a lot, especially when hiring managers only spend 6 seconds to scan a resume to decide if it is a resume that he/she wants to read deeper. This goes back to networking and being referred for the position, oppose to simply just submitting a resume to the company.

Now that you understand the importance of networking, now it is time to make your game plan of where you will begin to network. Of course begin with people you already know, this will help you get comfortable in talking about the position you are searching for. Don’t view networking as an intimidating thing, begin at your own pace and get out there and build those business relationships. You never know, your next position can be at your fingertips.