You’ve freshened up your resume + cover letter. You’ve uploaded your documents to the online job boards. And now you are waiting for the interviews. As you grow in your professional responsibilities, your network is your career’s best friend.
Surveys consistently reveal the fastest path to your next role is one many of us resist the most. Networking. As author, John Maxwell stated, “your network is your net worth”. Active professional networking is vital to your job search success and forming and maintaining professional relationships should be at the core of your job search activities.
Here’s 3 breakthrough tips to help you advance your job search faster:
Step 1: Look Beyond Online Job Boards
The modernization of the job search process began with the move to online job boards making it easier for companies to broadcast available roles and job seekers to source leads; however, time and again human resources + recruiter surveys consistently reveal networking as an important job search tool with anywhere from 40-80% of job placements attributed to building and nurturing connections that led to ‘insider information’ on open positions. Networking can also be the path to unadvertised job opportunities (also known as the “hidden job market” —a term that refers to jobs that are not publicly advertised and are usually filled through employee referrals, recruiters, or direct contact with hiring managers through networking). Here are action steps to take:
- Identify target companies and pinpoint decision makers to find where your connections intersect.
- Send a personalized connection request on LinkedIn, letting the individual know you’re interested in connecting and learning more about their company/industry. People love to share and are most always willing to help when asked.
Step 2: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Jobvite’s 2021 RecruiterNation report shared 65% of recruiters rely on LinkedIn to source and reach out to prospective candidates and share job opportunities. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or if you have an account but haven’t optimized your profile, you are missing out on building networking connections and even job opportunities. Here are action steps to take:
- The first step to an optimized LinkedIn profile is completing your information (headline, photo, about me/summary section, experience, and education).
- Don’t skip including a profile picture —statistics consistently reveal profiles with a professional profile picture (a solo headshot from the shoulders up) attract 50-70% more inquiries than profiles without photos.
- Don’t copy and paste your resume into your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn provides another avenue to connect with your audience; therefore, write a captivating headline and profile summary that provides the reader with a more personal glimpse into your professional brand.
- Engage with your connections by writing posts and sharing articles or industry-related information.
- Be active by posting, sharing, liking, commenting, and connecting!
Step 3: Get Involved
Networking is about making connections with people. After you’ve made the connection, look for opportunities to help or become a resource by sharing your industry knowledge. Here are action steps to take:
- Invest in your relationships by being mindful of chances where you can provide value to people in your network.
- Offer your assistance and advice beyond the work-related conversations; you can recommend a book, a movie, a hotel, a restaurant, or even a contractor, brand of appliances, etc.
- Volunteer or attend industry-related seminars + conferences; in-person connections can prove to be stronger than online ones if you take the time to participate.
Networking is essential to finding a job. It’s not enough to just post your resume online and hope for the best. You need to go beyond online job boards and get involved in your community. Optimize your LinkedIn profile, attend industry events, and connect with people in your field.
As you begin to network, you will discover that word-of-mouth is a powerful tool that will help you uncover opportunities and make your career goals a reality.