This is a common question we hear from candidates starting a job search, but it’s just as important a topic for anyone who has neglected to maintain or establish a strong professional network. The ideal way to find a new job is through a networking contact, so your best practice is to maintain your network on an ongoing basis so that it’s there when you need it most. For many, they have either never focused on building a network or have been too busy with family and work to keep up with people over the years. Not everyone is wired to network as it can take a substantial amount of time and effort. Regardless of the situation, networking is not “easy” and it takes some effort. Here are our suggestions for launching (or relaunching) your network, no matter what your reasons are.
LinkedIn is a great way to expand your reach, find content, explore new opportunities, or recruit talent. It’s a powerful networking resource that you should use to its full potential. Online platforms like LinkedIn can help anyone find people in or adjacent to their networks, supplying a comfortable structure to begin or rekindle connections. Connect to all of the people you have worked with before throughout your career. Networking is a “two-way street”, so when you send an invitation to connect, attach a message that you’re hoping to build your network and are also willing to make introductions for others as well.
Connect and Stay Active
Before you start requesting random meetings, have the end goal in mind by spending time upfront preparing a targeted list of contacts and companies, and know what you want to learn. Are you looking for a job, wondering how to advance your career, changing careers? Be specific in your ask, “I want to hear your opinion on working at a Big 4 company.” This is a good question because people are busy and don’t want the pressure of being asked for a job. A conversation that helps you learn is more likely to be accepted and will still help you build your network.
Start with people you know first, who are more likely to provide encouragement and give you a warm introduction to others that might be able to help. Then branch out to people you don’t know so well. Take the time to learn about your connection, are they relevant to your industry and career goals? Whenever you can, show potential connections that you have a genuine interest in their career and keeping in touch with them. Always ask how you may be able to help them down the road. The contacts, clients, and colleagues you cultivate and show interest in are the people who can act as gateways to other opportunities.
Once you’ve added people to your network, you must keep up with them. Reach out to your connections via email or social network at least a couple of times a year, and maybe throw in a lunch or happy hour every year or two. Make it a habit every week or two to connect with several people and you’ll find networking to be much easier and enjoyable.
Work with a Recruiter
Still feeling stuck? If your goal is finding a job or changing careers, another entry point is reaching out to a recruiter that specializes in your area of expertise, who’s placed people with backgrounds similar to yours. Not only does the recruiter have a tremendous network, but consider the size of the combined network of the recruiter and his/her team. A good recruiter knows that helping people is great for business, and is often willing to introduce you to someone who can provide great advice specific to your needs. If you are having trouble building/rebuilding your network, you owe it to yourself to seek the help of a recruiter. The recruiter will also assist you in finding the right job that suits you and your needs.
Connect with the Recruiters at Talance
As you expand your network, don’t hesitate to reach out to the recruiters at Talance Group. If you have any further questions about networking, working with recruiters, or anything about the recruiting process, give us a call at 713-357-9565. We want to give unbiased answers to your questions, whether you choose to work with us or not. For more industry insights for both clients and candidates, visit asktalance.com and find answers to your questions.