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Networking 101: Who, What, Where?

Have you ever heard the old saying, “It’s who you know?” This quote can certainly apply to a job search. Could you put together a list of three to five people who could give you a positive review of your work ability to a hiring manager? If not, chances are your professional and social networks need some work.

Why is it important to have a strong network when looking for a new job? A strong network may not only help you to get your resume in front of the right people, but it could also help you find a new job that you may not have known about without the help of these key individuals. The following list contains a few suggestions to help boost your connections, both professionally and socially.

Attend as many networking events as possible

Attending networking events can help you meet other professionals within your industry. These people can become valuable allies when searching for your next opportunity. While at these networking events, try to engage in meaningful conversations rather than just taking someone’s business card. Learn how and why they started in a particular industry, ask for their advice as you progress in your career and gather any other bits of information you can. Try to attend as many events as possible to help widen and build your contacts.

Link up on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become one of the most important tools to help expand your professional networks. Recruiters use it as a method to locate passive talent. Prospective candidates explore the website for open jobs, to connect with co-workers, and to introduce themselves to people with similar industry experience. Another great way to market yourself and help construct your network is to write a compelling and informative “About Me” section. Showcasing the value you bring to the table will help encourage those with similar backgrounds to request a connection with you.

Reach out to previous supervisors and co-workers

Get in touch with former supervisors and co-workers via phone, email, and LinkedIn. It pays to maintain those connections, since they could be a pivotal asset to finding your next new opportunity. Maintaining strong interpersonal relationships, even after leaving a job, can be helpful to your professional network too. As a result, you might be able to cherry pick favors when the time comes. The key is to continuously reach out over time so that your name stays in the forefront of someone’s mind when an opportunity is presented. Don’t become a past memory – stay relevant to those who could potentially really help you out.

Join an industry specialization group

Join an industry group, trade association, or another specialization organization to meet individuals with similar work experience. Fellow members can also help in your job search. When you are job hunting, connect to these people whether in person at group events or through LinkedIn. You never know, they may be willing to pass your resume along or might even know of an opening that would be perfect for you!

Can your networking skills use some brushing up? How will you apply these tools and tricks to your daily life to help improve your professional networks?

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