How to Network For a Job (Flawless Tips and Steps)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated June 9, 2022
Published October 18, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
In a competitive job market, networking can give you the advantage you need to find the job you desire. Networking means using your circle of friends, family, and professional acquaintances to discover new opportunities. Everyone has a network, and everyone can learn how to expand and strengthen that network as well as how to use it to further their professional career. In this article, we discuss how to network for a job, why networking is important, and tips on improving your networking.
How to network for a job
To learn how to network for a job, it's important to know that networking is all about building relationships and communicating. By talking to others and creating new relationships, keeping old connections, and learning how to strengthen existing bonds, you develop your network and grow your communication skills. Here are some steps you can take to learn how to network for a job more effectively:
1. Continue networking
Start networking before you find yourself in a situation where you might turn to your network for help. Make a conscious decision to develop stronger relationships with the people you work with, as well as with friends and family. Make an effort to stay in contact with former coworkers and old friends. Try to attend work events or community programs. When someone needs help, try to be there for them. If you already have a strong professional network developed when you begin your job search, you can connect with others in a more natural way.
2. Define your goals
Before you reach out to your network and ask for help to find a job, it's important to know what you're looking for. If you have a clear vision of what you want to do and know the steps that you plan to take, people can be much more receptive and willing to help you.
Sometimes, you can learn more about what you want by speaking to those who know you well. Begin by speaking with the people close to you and allow them to help you define your goals more clearly. Then use your broader network to help you pursue your career goals.
Related: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career
3. Outline your network
When it's time to network for a job, you can feel as if you don't know anyone who can help you, but you probably have a bigger network than you think. It's helpful to list the names of friends, family, coworkers, and classmates. You could call this set of names your primary network. Then write the names of associates that you have met through your primary network, like the spouses of family members and friends of friends. This is your secondary network. When you consider them both together, the size of your network might surprise you.
Update your list as you make new connections and use it to inspire you to continue building your network. Remember that even a small connection to someone is an opportunity to build a relationship.
4. Develop your networking skills
Everyone possesses some networking skills because communicating and building relationships is a natural part of being human. It's also completely normal to feel somewhat shy and nervous about networking. If you feel uncomfortable networking, remember that it's a skill that you can develop. You can improve your communication skills by reading, writing, and making an effort to spend time with others. You can improve your confidence by taking public speaking classes or working on your physical fitness. If you work on your networking skills, you may find that your web of connections grows naturally.
5. Use your network
You may have a vast network of professional connections, but it's important to actually make contact with others and put your network to use to find new opportunities. When you must leverage your network to find a job, start speaking to your contacts and let them know what you're looking for. Remember that people enjoy being helpful, feeling knowledgeable, and are usually happy to assist others. When you reach out, remember to show interest in the other person. Perhaps there is something that you can help them with as well.
6. Take advantage of online tools
The internet is an incredibly powerful networking tool. It allows you to research jobs you're interested in, learn the names and contact information of important figures in that field, and reach out to them instantly with a message. Social media helps us stay in close contact with a large network of connections from our personal and professional lives. Make sure that your social media profiles are up to date and convey professionalism, attempt to stay in touch with associates from your past, and don't be hesitant to reach out to new contacts with a brief message.
7. Attend networking events
A networking event doesn't need to be explicitly about networking. It can be a meetup of former classmates from your old school, a class of individuals looking to learn a new skill, or a community event. Anywhere you might meet new contacts can be a networking event. Some professions organize regular events specifically for networking, while others rely on more informal connections. Follow your interests and get involved in groups dedicated to the profession that you're aspiring to enter. Volunteer for charitable causes that are meaningful to you. The more you expand your activities, the bigger your network grows.
8. Help others
One of the greatest aspects of networking is that everyone works together in a way. Just as you're trying to grow your network and develop stronger relationships with others, so are those who you're networking with. One of the most powerful ways to connect with another person is to help them with something. By helping others when they reach out looking for new opportunities, you demonstrate your character and strengthen relationships. Helping other people is rewarding, but it also means that others are much more likely to assist you in the future.
Tips for networking for a job
If you develop your networking skills, work diligently to build connections, and reach out to those you know when you're looking for a job, new opportunities are plentiful. Here are some tips for more effective networking:
Networking is a complex process, and finding new opportunities can take time. If you reach out to others without results at first, it can be discouraging. Try not to focus on the results right away. Continue to develop your networking skills, continue to reach out, and keep on helping others when you get the opportunity. If you're feeling stressed, there is nothing wrong with taking time to rest, but try to keep your goals in mind and continuously pursue them. By developing persistence in your networking efforts, you can learn to overcome adversity and cultivate mental strength.
Find methods that work for you
There are so many ways to build your network, and every industry requires a slightly different approach. Try to vary your methods of networking to find one that works for your personality and fits your goals. Some individuals excel in face-to-face interactions, so they might focus on meeting in person. Others are adept at using social media, so increasing their efforts there might be beneficial.
Focus on your strengths, but also develop your weaknesses and try new activities. You can learn a lot about yourself as you improve and focus on your networking skills, so try to enjoy the process.
When you're networking for a job, try to keep an open mind because you never know where an opportunity may come from. Even if someone doesn't work in the field that you're interested in entering, they may know someone who does, or may have some advice that can help you in your search.
If you assume that someone is unable to help you and decide not to reach out, you may miss out on an opportunity. There is nothing wrong with focusing your networking efforts in a particular direction, but the wider your network, the more chances you have to find an opportunity.
Related: Guidelines on How to Network
A positive attitude is one of the most powerful networking skills you can possess. It can help attract people to you, make them want to help you, and keep you going when you don't initially find success. Try to see the good in every situation. Even if you don't find a job opportunity when you make an effort to network, you might make a new friend or learn something new.
Focus on self development and connecting with others before you worry about the results of your efforts. Try to see networking as a fun and rewarding process in which you can both help others and develop yourself.
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