If you’ve been having difficulty finding a new job, there’s a good chance you’re all too familiar with the phrase, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” It does not take many rejection e-mails to start making you wonder if your skills on paper alone are enough to get your foot in the door.
But, what exactly is a professional network, and how can you be sure that yours is thriving in a crowded job market? We recently asked our corporate recruiter, Brandy, to give us some insight into the importance of maintaining a strong professional network as a job seeker. Here are her four network considerations to keep in mind:
“1. Don’t underestimate the size of your network. Networking is as simple as getting to know people and reaching out to those you already know. Don’t forget those who might seem like ‘obvious’ people in your network: past co-workers you had a good relationship or rapport with, individuals you went to college or even high school with or even friends’ and family members’ networks. People do business primarily with people they know and like, so this can go a long way in helping your career search
2. Today, social media networking is huge. Tools like LinkedIn have made it possible to expand your network very rapidly. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you are reducing your chances of finding your next job significantly and making the process much slower by virtue of not leveraging the technology available to you.
3. Communicate with your network. You might have tons of personal and professional connections, but if no one knows about your situation, then they can’t help you. Make contact with the people in your network and let them know you are in the job market; remember to be very specific about what you are looking for, and don’t forget to ask them if they have connections who could help you in that particular field.
4. Be appreciative of those connections in your network who do offer help. Remember, your network is your ‘net worth.’ Thank everyone who helps you and keep them posted on the progress of your job search. Be sure and return the favor and make yourself available as a resource to other job seekers.”
How has your professional network helped to shape your career? Share your stories below!