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Networking as a job seeker; why and how?

by Suzie McInerney

Networking as a job seeker; why and how?

Networking is important for a number of reasons, no less for a candidate in the job market. Finding a new job is exhausting in such a competitive market. Traditionally it can require long hours online trawling through job boards applying for roles, tailoring and tweaking your resume over and over, and countless phone calls and interviews. However, there is another way. If you start to effectively build your network now, when the time comes you will find the stress of your job search diminishes.

Why would you network?

  • Although a cliche it is often more about whom you know, not what you know. People like to work with people they know. If there is an existing relationship, the trust has already been established and expectations set. Because of your relationship you will be top of mind when the opportunity arises.
  • The job you're looking for may not be advertised. So many jobs now are filled through referrals and existing networks rather than online applications. The more contacts you have the higher the chance your next job will be the result of a referral.
  • Build your personal brand and expand your knowledge. Networking isn't just about finding the right role now, it's about promoting yourself as a professional. It is also a good way to seek advice and learn from industry experts.

How to effectively network?

  • Get social; social media, if correctly utilised*, is a fantastic way to broaden your network with like-minded people you would not have had access to even 10 years ago. If you don't have one, a LinkedIn profile is a must.
  • Attend industry events; they are a fantastic way to network. Face-to-face interaction is often more meaningful and memorable than online interaction. Six Degrees, as an example, regularly host networking events relevant for both candidates and clients*.
  • Maintaining your network is just as crucial as building it. You will lack credibility if you only contact those in your network when you need something. Reach out to people regularly without asking for anything. Better yet, offer help where you can.

Lastly and most importantly, start networking now! Even if you are not actively looking for a job, building your network now will mean a less stressful job search when the time comes.

How has networking helped your job search?