Learn how to network to get a job–the biggest factor for a successful job search. The adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know”, while not completely accurate, is a good reminder that our networks are critical in today’s job market. So, how do you use your social network in a job search? Often referred to as the “hidden job market”, a high percentage of jobs (some estimate 75%) are never advertised and are filled through existing relationships and referrals, making this is an avenue well worth pursuing! Start by mapping out your world. Create a list of your work and personal email addresses, LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers, and Facebook friends. Get in front of some of these people to pick their brain for suggestions and leads.
Online Social Networks:
For those who have not mobilized their social networks to find work, it can seem overwhelming. However, following some basic guidelines will make all the difference in learning how to network to get a job. The two most popular platforms for job seeking are LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn is geared toward building a professional profile and network. Therefore, making your profile stand out will require that you maximize your LinkedIn opportunities and take full advantage of the tools provided. One reason why LinkedIn is such a great tool is the built-in search engine optimization. Read on to learn how to take advantage of all LinkedIn has to offer!
Twitter differs from LinkedIn, in that you can view (and be viewed by) anyone. With an introduction to using twitter for your job search, you will learn how to “show off” your trade knowledge and insights to possible employers. Here are some ideas on how set up an account and get started Tweeting when you are not sure what to say! This app will enable you to share your resume (ideally in PDF form) via a tweet.
If you have the opposite problem and are wondering what to do with your numerous online portfolios, resumes and social media accounts, About.me is a great platform to bring it all together. Using a single personalized page, let people know the basics of who you are with the option to then link to your various networks and websites. For managing various social media accounts we recommend HootSuite, a platform that allows the user to manage 8+ social platforms.
Great for organizing your “stuff”, Found is an app that enables the user to search across multiple platforms– your email, dropbox and Evernote accounts can all be searched with one click of a button! At the moment, it’s only available for Mac users.
Outside of these social media platforms, CareerFuel suggests trying Help a Reporter Out, a service that connects reporters with sources that are knowledgeable on the topics they are writing about. This is an opportunity to situate yourself as a leader in your field, while adding to your resume. Another option is to set up a blog and use it as a platform to position yourself as an expert and get your name out there! Here is a rundown on how to get a free WordPress site up and running.
In Person Networking:
Now is the time to get out of your comfort zone and start expanding your world of activities and, with it, your social circle.
Meetup.com takes online networking offline. Search your area code to find local groups that meet in person on everything from gardening to small business web design.
Volunteering can also be a rewarding way to spend time if you are unemployed. It gives you a sense of contribution and it connects you with others. In the process, volunteering may lead you to reconsider your professional aspirations and has also been known to lead to a full-time job. For example, the parent who volunteers at school and shows interest in substitute teaching is more likely to be considered (assuming qualified) than the person who is not involved with school activities. Two fantastic places to start hunting for volunteer opportunities in your area are through Idealist and VolunteerMatch. Both services provide connections based on geographic location and your particular interest/qualifications.
If you have college experience or degrees, alumni networks are a great way to connect with a group where there is built-in affinity, as you continue your search to find work. LinkedIn has many alumni groups. Once logged in to LinkedIn, search alumni groups for your alma mater.
Finally, local libraries and newspapers usually maintain bulletin boards with postings for local free events ranging from movies to lectures and meetings. Chamber of Commerce meetings, groups that bring hobbyists together like cycling organizations and ski clubs, and athletic coaching are great ways to reconnect with your local community.
After perfecting your resume, getting comfortable with the ABCs of how to network to get a job is probably where your time spent will get the biggest bang, so go get’ em.