You’ve heard people telling you to network your way to a new job. But that seems easier said than done.
Maybe you don’t have a network or you don’t like to network or perhaps you don’t know how to network. Before you worry about any of this, start with a plan to grow your network.
The chances of your securing your next job solely because you had resume posted online are slim. Can it happen? Sure. But, when was the last time you were struck by lightening? Those are the kinds of odds I’m talking about.
Why Do You Need A Network
Let’s take a quick look at how companies report filling jobs (also known as source of hire). There are three bars listed for each source. I only want to focus on the % total hired (turquoise) bar which highlights these as the top sources of hire:
- Employee referrals (50+%)
- Recruiter sourced (15+%)
- Indeed (10+%)
The only way to get referred is to network. So you’ve resigned to the fact that you have to start networking.
It starts by purposefully growing your network. What I’m talking about is purposefully and genuinely expanding the people you interact with and share information with.
Who Do You Need To Know
Think about who you need to know. This can be truly difficult if you haven’t thought about it before.
Who are the people in your industry or occupation you need to meet because they do their job really well or are recognized as top performers? You may find them appearing in a trade publication, association newsletters or even the newspaper. They win awards, give presentations, hold leadership positions. Don’t forget to look inside your organization too.
Start creating a “Wish List” of people you would like to meet.
How Will You Meet Them
Before you start cold calling these “need to know” people and asking to network (YUCK!), find out who you know who may know them.
Ask your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, everyone, if they know this person and if they might be able to introduce you. You will need to explain to everyone WHY you want to meet them. Bear in mind, it isn’t just about you. What do you know that might be of value to this “need to know” person? Again, this requires a bit of thinking and perhaps research.
If they belong to an association, they may attend monthly meetings. Attend those meetings.
They may be giving a presentation. Attend the presentation.
Look for their name on LinkedIn. It is pretty easy to find out who knows who. If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, now is the time.
What Will You Say
You don’t want to sound like a stalker. You don’t want to come across as desperate either. Genuinely and sincerely state the reason you would like to meet them and share something you know will be of value to them.
For more help, you can read How To Ask For An Informational Meeting
Theory vs Practice
I know, in theory this sounds really simple. It is much more difficult to carry out. But don’t let that be the reason you don’t do it. Rejection will happen. But it only takes one great conversation with someone who says yes to keep you motivated.
Ask people you know who are really good networkers for advice.
Read books and blogs and listen to podcasts.
Think of this as an opportunity for self-improvement that will pay off greatly!
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.