How to Use Your Network When Job Searching

Whether you’re looking to enter a new company, start a new career entirely, or you’re new to the workforce, you should have networks in place which prove invaluable in offering that first connection that could seal the deal for you as a new hire. Employers trust recommendations and introductions made by current, previous employees, as well as people in their community; here is how you can use your network to enhance your chances of success.

The importance of networking

We know it is hard to put yourself out there when you are job searching, but considering the benefits of networking, you should not hesitate to start. Multiple surveys by employers have found that people personally recommended to them stood a higher chance of being hired because it gave the employer the sense of confidence they needed to make a decision. After all, the candidate pool is full of unfamiliar faces – isn’t it worthwhile on their end for their new hire to be someone who comes with approval from someone they already know and trust?

Evaluate your existing networks

Most people consider networking to be a formal activity where you meet and greet professionals, but networking is actually any activity which allows you to create social bonds and ties that can be used later to help you advance in your career. Take some time to think through these networks to determine whether there are any possibilities to discover current vacancies, future vacancies, or opportunities that may not even be advertised:

  1. Family networks
    While you probably don’t want to work for or with family members, they are an overlooked area when it comes to career networking. If most of your family members are in the workforce, then every one of them has their own network to draw upon to help you find that perfect opportunity. Talk to your family members about openings in their companies and probe deeper to find out whether their close friends and acquaintances are aware of vacancies that may be right for you.

  2. Friendship networks
    Like your family members, each of your friends has their own network which could prove useful in your hunt for a job. Importantly, friendship recommendations carry more weight, as employers generally approve of people who have good relationships with their current staff, whom they know very well. Ask your friends whether there are any openings in their companies and make sure to inquire about their networks, as you might find they know someone who works in the company or industry you are dying to enter.

  3. LinkedIn contacts
    If you aren’t on LinkedIn, then you should be getting ready to make your very own profile. While it seems daunting, LinkedIn is a great resource in the job hunt. Not only does it show you current vacancies that match your skill set, it also allows employers to get confirmation of your social links, which helps them determine how personable you are in the community. Think about your existing LinkedIn contacts and consider approaching those you know have unique insight into a company or industry, or even people you know who work at your target company. They may just put in a recommendation for you, which may help you secure a face to face interview.

  4. Your Facebook network
    People don’t often think of Facebook when it comes to job hunting, but the platform offers an amazing cross-section of people in your network, all with a unique list of friends and acquaintances who might just help you discover a new role. If you’re comfortable, consider telling your entire network that you are currently job searching and make sure to tell them what you are looking for specifically. If you can’t do that for some reason, such as you haven’t left your existing job yet and you are connected to your boss, then consider sending personalized yet friendly personal messages to people you think may be able to help you achieve your goals.

Networking is a lifelong journey

Think of networking as simply maintaining an ever-evolving social life, and you’ll find it easier to network; gaining more potential job leads in the process. Make sure you dedicate time each week, month, or day meeting new people, finding out about the work they do, how they fit into their company and industry and talk to them about your career goals and passions. With this approach, you will build a solid network which will help you step up into a new role each time you feel a career shift on your horizon.