Job Search Tips: Networking 101
Searching for a new job can be intimidating, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve been in the market. I often hear about how overwhelming it can be, and it is hard to know where to even begin! One approach the job search like any other internet search – type some keywords into Indeed or LinkedIn and see what happens. From there, you can spend hours studying job descriptions until finding the perfect job or applying to everything that maybe, possibly, potentially could fit, and seeing what happens.
While applying online can work, we know networking leads to faster job placement, higher wages, and longer employment duration (Source). So, if networking is so great, why aren’t more people doing it? In a lot of cases, people don’t know how, or where to start. Anxiety and imposter syndrome can also sneak in and make it difficult for people to reach out. Sometimes, clients are afraid to ask for ‘favors’ from others.
As in, “I’ve been successful in my career, but most of that has been a result of being in the right place at the right time. Someday they’re going to find out I’m not as good as they think I am.” If you’ve ever thought something along these lines, you might be suffering from Imposter Syndrome. It can be tough to recognize the potential that others see in you and own it. The hard part about networking and job seeking, in general, is that if you aren’t confident that you can do the work, employers won’t be convinced either. Don’t let your fear get in the way of a new job. It might seem silly, but power poses and having a mantra to repeat can help build confidence. Check your body language: shoulders back, head up, take a deep breath and go! Remember, you’ve got this. You could be the perfect person to take on that stretch job.
Asking for Help
Repeat after me: “Asking for help is not a weakness.” Asking for help can build a stronger bond with you and another person. When you ask someone for help, that person feels useful, and that you trust them. Asking for help can be a powerful tool to strengthen all kinds of different relationships, so spread the love around. It’s always better to get a warm introduction to a possible employer than reaching out blindly. Here’s the catch. When you ask someone for help, be willing to return the favor. Try not to rely on the same person consistently, our you might burn them out. Also, be sure to thank them for the connection, even if nothing comes of it. A simple handwritten note or even freshly baked cookies can go a long way in building those relationships.
So now that we’ve overcome a couple of common obstacles to networking, where the heck do you start?! There are a few ways you can get started. First, find out who you know. You can use social media or look through your phonebook. One underutilized method of networking is to send out an email to your contacts just letting them know you’re in the job market. Be selective about who you’re sending this to, especially if your employer doesn’t know you’re looking for a new opportunity.
If that’s not quite your style, help recruiters find you on LinkedIn by setting up your job notifications. This tool will help recruiters find you more easily and match you to potential positions that fit within your expectations. You can set preferences about the types of work you’re interested in, company size, industry and more. Don’t forget to double-check that your profile is up to date and reflects your most recent positions.
Creating your Top 10 list
Need more help narrowing it down? When you build a targeted list of companies you want to work at, you can see progress as your search progresses. First, do your research – what is it about the company that makes you want to work there? Awesome culture? Cool products? Stability and benefits? Great! Check out this spreadsheet to start brainstorming (hint: download a copy so you can make edits). If you feel like you’re stuck in your job search, this is a great tool to help you get unstuck.
Each week pick 3-4 companies and do something to build a network there. It could be setting up job notifications on their website, engaging with their social media pages, setting up informational interviews or even contacting a recruiter. Then, write it down and give yourself credit for the work you’ve done. By tracking your progress, you can see what strategies work as your networking progresses.
If you’re overwhelmed with where to start and need some help building a networking strategy or getting your job search kicked off, let us know. We can help with your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter reviews, and overall job search strategy.