Looking for a job can be a daunting task no matter how skilled or experienced you are.
Even when you find an opening that you know would be perfect for you, another obstacle comes along – according to recent stats, more than 85% of all jobs are filled through networking, which means that most employers aren’t ready to give you the benefit of the doubt and invite you to an interview without any referrals or recommendations.
Generally speaking, companies nowadays use the power of advanced technologies to cherry-pick the best people for the job from a large online pool of top talent, so that the competition is fierce. It’s not enough to merely polish your CV, craft a compelling motivational letter, and expect to land your next interview.
You need to leverage your resources if you want to penetrate the so-called hidden job market full of jobs that aren’t widely advertised and distinguish yourself from other potential candidates with the same or similar skills and experience.
1. Do Your Research
In case that you hear or see an ad about a vacancy in a company, make sure to find out as much as possible about it. Browse through the company’s website and social media channels and learn the most critical information about its culture, vision, mission, goals.
This will help you see if you’re cut for the job and prepare for a possible interview. It’s also a good idea to read articles from trustworthy sources and try to align your passions and interests with the company’s goals. The purpose of this research is also to find mutual connections that you can contact and inquire about the position in question.
There’s always a possibility to benefit from “a friend of a friend” concept as maybe somebody you know virtually or IRL might know an employee of the company who could offer more details about the job itself or introduce you to a recruiter.
2. Use LinkedIn
Make sure to update and optimize your LinkedIn page, as that’s your online ID when it comes to the business world.
Remember that this social media platform for business professionals boasts about 562 million users from all around the world and that it can help you connect and in touch with numerous people from your industry. When it comes to networking on LinkedIn, it’s extremely simple.
First of all, you need to be active regularly. This means posting updates, articles, and sharing other people’s posts every day. Commenting on the topics that you’re interested or experienced in, is also highly desirable, as professionals from your niche as well as potential employers might notice you.
You can start expanding your network by visiting profiles of the people suggested to you based on your skills and interests. You should also send them connection requests and start chatting with them directly. One of the most important things is to engage in meaningful conversations with others and offer them help, and you can expect that people will be glad to return the favour.
Also, by sharing your thoughts and opinions on relevant topics is the way to start building authority in your industry, and that way to make a lot of job offers and opportunities come your way.
3. Nurture Your Connections
You might be neglecting connections that are within your reach – your family and friends.
Share your business goals and plans with them and keep them posted about your aspirations because they can help you or think of someone who could give you valuable advice.
Besides, by talking about your business pursuits with someone outside of a professional context might be a good exercise for the real thing.
4. Attend Conferences and Formal Industry Events
Such events are an excellent opportunity to master your existing skills, learn new ones, and expand your network. If there are some notable speakers at the conferences you attend, run a background check on them and prepare some questions that you might ask to strike up a conversation with them.
As lots of people from your industry will be present, don’t forget to bring some promotional materials such as business cards and flyers that you can hand out. This is a nice touch even nowadays when communication is mostly carried out through digital channels. Moreover, this old-school approach can set you apart from the others and keep you on potential employers’ radar.
In time, you might even summon the courage to apply as a speaker at some of these events, and thus additionally improve the likelihood that you’ll be noticed and recognized as a valuable employee.
5. …And Informal Meetups
Meetups are great for breaking the ice when it comes to networking as people who will be there have similar interests and a set of skills so that it will be easy to find common ground.
Since the atmosphere is much more relaxed, you will be able to let your hair down and share your business ambitions and aspirations without any hesitation. Besides, you can also hear tips and experiences.
6. Volunteer in Your Community
Volunteering is a win-win situation. You help others while gaining some valuable skills and experiences as well as growing your network.
The fact that the people you meet might not be from your field of work is even better because you can learn some new things and expand your horizons.
According to a survey, 76% of career advisors say that volunteering increases your likelihood of finding a job. You can’t deny that the information that you contributed to the higher good paints you in a very favourable light in your potential employer’s eyes.
Volunteering based on your skills is something that can additionally improve your resume and make you stand out among other candidates for the job.
7. Join Groups on Social Media
There are different Facebook and LinkedIn groups for people from various niches. By participating in discussions, you can start building relationships with other members and establishing yourself as an expert.
Besides networking benefits, such groups are frequented by managers and recruiters who post job openings. When you’re interested in a particular job, it’s easy to directly reach out to the person who posted it and talk about their offer.
Needless to say, if you’ve built a strong reputation in a group, and if your posts and answers to questions related to your field reflect your expertise, you stand a good chance that you’ll be noticed by recruiters and be taken into consideration for different interviews.
8. Stay in Touch with Your Fellow Alumni
It’s only logical that you share professional interests with your college classmates or that you’re even in the same line of work, which means that keeping in touch with them regularly also counts as networking.
Nowadays with some available social media platforms and IMs, it’s easier than ever to grow and develop relationships that you built while at uni. Drop them a line or send them a blog post or research that they might find useful.
It’s as simple as that. The chances are that either some of them or a person they know work for your dream company. So, make sure to nurture these relationships even if you don’t live in the same city or state as they have massive potential regarding referrals as well as business opportunities and collaborations.
9. Don’t Forget About Your Former Professors, Clients, and Employers
It’s of vital importance to have the people you worked within your network. They are those who can vouch for your credibility and expertise, and even write you a letter of recommendation and put in a few good words for you with your potential employees.
This also means that you should try to stay on good terms with your previous employers and bosses. These people have many business acquaintances, and it’s good to have them on your side because lousy news and gossip spread like wildfire and a petty quarrel in the workplace can hurt your reputation.
So, no matter what, don’t burn the bridges behind yourself. All these practical networking tips can make all the difference and dramatically increase your chances of landing your next interview.