How Career Networking Can Help You Get Hired
One of the most valuable techniques for job searching and career advancement is career networking—building and fostering relationships with potential employers, colleagues, and industry contacts.
Career networking may sound challenging and time-consuming, but it can be a career game-changer. Networking involves building relationships with professionals with industry knowledge, experience, and connections. Your network can help you learn about potential job opportunities, connect you with hiring managers, and provide valuable career advice.
Here’s information on what career networking is and how it works, how it can help your job search and career, where to find networking contacts, and tips on how to grow your network.
What Is Career Networking?
Career networking can help you learn about unadvertised job openings, get referrals, and connect with hiring managers.
Networking involves building mutually beneficial relationships with people with similar professional interests. It’s about communicating with people and building relationships that can open doors to new opportunities, information, and support you might not otherwise have access to.
These professional relationships can include people in your industry, mentors, colleagues, friends, family, and professional contacts.
How Can Career Networking Help You Land a Job?
Career networking can help you in various ways when you’re job searching or building a career.
- Make connections with people who can help you with your job search.
- Learn about job opportunities that aren’t publicly advertised.
- Get referrals and introductions to hiring managers or decision-makers.
- Gain industry and company insights to help you better prepare for interviews.
- Provide validation and support for career-related decisions.
- Receive advice and guidance from mentors or experienced professionals.
Where Can You Find Networking Contacts?
Career networking can happen anywhere and anytime. The best thing to do is to start growing your network before you need it. If you spend some time each week making connections and building a network, it will be in place when you’re ready to job search.
But if you’ve unexpectedly lost your job and need to scramble to find a new one, there is always time to start. You’ll just need to spend more time connecting than if you already have a robust professional network of contacts who can assist.
Here are some ways you can find contacts to connect with:
Online Career Networking
Online Networking Platforms: Utilize online platforms like LinkedIn, where you can connect with professionals in your industry, join relevant groups, and participate in discussions.
Alumni Networks: If you attended a university or college, check if they have an alumni network. Many institutions have platforms or events designed for alumni to connect and network. Some companies have active networking groups for former employees. Check LinkedIn to see what’s available.
Networking through Colleagues and Friends: Inform your colleagues, friends, and family about your career goals and ask if they can introduce you to anyone in their network who can help.
Informational Interviews: Reach out to professionals in your field and request informational interviews. These interviews are not about job opportunities but rather about gaining insights and advice about the industry.
Social Media and Online Forums: Participate in industry-related Reddit discussions or specialized forums. Engaging in meaningful conversations can lead to connections with others in your field.
Cold Emails or Messages: If you come across someone whose work you admire or who has a career path you’d like to learn more about, don’t hesitate to send a polite and concise email or message to introduce yourself and express your interest in connecting.
Professional Networking Events: Attend conferences, seminars, workshops, and industry-specific events. These gatherings are excellent opportunities to meet like-minded professionals and experts in your field.
Industry Associations and Organizations: Look for professional associations or organizations related to your career. They often host networking events and provide opportunities to interact with industry leaders.
Industry Conferences and Trade Shows: Attend conferences and trade shows specific to your profession. These events often attract a wide range of professionals and experts.
Meetup Groups: Use websites like Meetup to find local gatherings related to your profession or interests. These events are an excellent way to meet people face-to-face in a relaxed setting.
Tip: Engaging in volunteer work related to your career interests can connect you with other like-minded individuals while also contributing to a good cause.
How To Build Your Career Network
Here’s how to start building your career network:
LinkedIn is a powerful tool to connect with like-minded professionals in your industry. You can search for jobs, join groups, follow companies, and get introduced to new contacts.
College Career Networks
Your alma mater’s career network can be a rich source of connections and resources. Check with the carer services or alumni office to learn about available networking programs.
Your college may be able to connect you with alums in your industry, provide job and internship opportunities, career fairs, networking events, and offer career advice and workshops.
Professional Networking Events
Attend industry events and conferences where you can meet professionals in person. These settings are great for building relationships, exchanging business cards, and learning about industry news and trends.
You may already have professional affiliations like industry associations or trade organizations. These communities can provide you with opportunities to attend events, meet other professionals, and learn about relevant news and trends.
Friends and Family
Don’t underestimate the power of your personal connections. They may know someone who works in your industry or company and can help connect you to the right person.
Tip: Here are five easy ways to grow your career network.
Tips for Successful Networking
Here are some tips for building a successful network:
- Be yourself and build relationships based on mutual interests and goals.
- Don’t be afraid to share your career goals and aspirations and ask for advice.
- Follow up with your contacts, whether it’s on social media, email, or phone, consistently.
- Offer value to your contacts. Send it their way if you hear about a job opening or event.
- Be proactive and attend professional events and conferences.
- Stay connected. Take the time to check in with your connections to see how they are doing, even when you’re not actively job searching.
In addition to the things you should do to network successfully, there are some things you shouldn’t do when you’re networking. Networking done the wrong way can cost you job leads and referrals. Check this list of what not to do when you’re networking to be sure you have all the basics covered.
Finally, remember that networking is a long-term investment. Building valuable relationships that can help you in the long run takes time.
The Bottom Line
Career networking can be a powerful tool to help you find your dream job. Building relationships with other professionals and gaining access to industry insights, job opportunities, and referrals can help you accelerate your job search and find new career opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, attend networking events, and build genuine relationships. You never know who you might meet and what opportunities may come your way!