The Key to a Successful Job Search: Networking Your Way into a Job

Why is job search networking important? Surely your success should be based on your strengths and experience, not on who you know. Actually, most jobs are filled via word of mouth, so your next job is most likely going to come to you from a lead or someone you know. Who will be providing you with that lead? Since you don’t know, it is important to extend your network as far as you can. Then do the research and gather all the information you can via interviews with those within the profession you’re interested in.

For every job you apply for, you should have a contact inside that company. This contact will hand deliver your resume to the hiring manager. This is the number one way to find a job. It’s been proven to be more successful with my clients than any other networking idea or concept.

Joel Garfinkle

Career experts state that job networking today is more important than ever to secure the job you really want. Fact is, 86% of all jobs are found through networking. This network will provide you with someone on the inside that separates you from the pack.  While only a 2-3% success rate occurs when using the internet to apply for job openings and posting your resume.

True networking is making connections with anyone and everyone who is in a position to influence your job search efforts. Your network can be a competitive advantage if you know how to capitalize on it correctly.

Unfortunately, job search networking is often neglected because it takes time, courage and effort. However, it is a crucial skill that almost anyone can master quickly and effectively.

What Is Networking?

It’s giving and receiving information, ideas, referrals, recommendations, leads and support with others. It’s about utilizing the sources of information and resources available to you and being a resource yourself. When you search for a job, networking means taking advantage of a large list of contacts to help make introductions to opportunities. It starts by asking for and giving out information. Your aim is to create a “buzz” around yourself with people in related industries, get in front of the right people, and get referred and recommended. Networking is about who you know rather than what you know, and it is more effective than virtually all other job search strategies. Successful networkers offer their own expertise and support to make others want to network with them, making it a mutually rewarding experience and a win-win for all.


Why Networking is Important

While conducting your job search, you can use the power of networking to meet industry leaders and land a job in the company you want to work for. Having personal and professional contacts is the key to career success. People are most often hired through their good connections and who they know via the “grapevine.” Networking with the right people can help you get the job advice you need to succeed. Your network can also alert you to unadvertised job openings. By mastering networking, you will bypass the competition and win the race before it even begins.

Who Is Your Network?

Your network is EVERYONE you know. And by that I really mean everyone. Be prepared to ask people if they are aware of any suitable job vacancies. This includes your family, friends, neighbors, former colleagues and even your doctor, insurance agent and hair stylist. You can start by letting people know exactly the kind of work you want to do and thank them in advance for offering any help they can. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover that your best career opportunity came from someone you didn’t think would be able to help, but they knew someone who could.

Get Others To Network For You

The first step to getting others to network for you is to determine what you really want. Once you have established your goals, you can educate your network so they’ll provide you with exactly what you need. The easier you make it for them to help you, the more it will benefit you in the end. The key is to make it almost effortless for others to network on your behalf by providing everything they need, like an updated resume and list of talking points about your strengths and accomplishments. You need to be clear and precise as to what you need them to do. In return, ask how you can offer your expertise and support to help them; that way it’s a fair two-way exchange.


Discover How Big Your Network Really Is

How many people are in your network? Twenty? Thirty? You’re not thinking hard enough. Think deeper and you’ll start to realize your network is considerably larger than you initially thought. Make a list of all the people you know or have met, no matter how trivial, such as your librarian, auto mechanic or massage therapist. Many people make the mistake of thinking that their network is the list of people who they’re currently in touch with. Don’t overlook your former college or high school classmates or baseball coach. There’s no harm in reconnecting with them to discover what I call your “invisible network.” You don’t know who might connect you to your next big opportunity, but one thing you do know is the more people you talk to, the more opportunities you open up for yourself.

The Power Of Referrals

Getting people to refer you or advocate on your behalf is critical. If someone with influence recommends you to those in charge of hiring, you’ll stand out from the crowd of other candidates. Referrals work because people want to work with people they know, trust, and respect. When a trusted and respected colleague provides a positive reference for you, it gives you credibility and validates your qualifications and eligibility for the position, making you stand out from the others and leading to career-building job opportunities.


Job Search Networking Evaluation

First, let’s determine the extent of your network and then look at how you can increase it by completing this evaluation. For each situation, circle Yes or No.

  1. I belong to at least one professional or personal association related to job I am interested in.
    Yes        No
  2. In the past year, my network connected me with others in the area of work I want to do.
    Yes        No
  3. I go to at least one function a month, meeting people who share my professional interest.
    Yes        No
  4. When speaking about myself to others, I’m not embarrassed to tell them about the type of work I want to do.
    Yes        No
  5. When asked, What do you enjoy doing? I talk about what infuses joy into the work I want to do.
    Yes        No
  6. While networking and meeting others, I introduce myself to people I don’t know and come away with at least three new acquaintances who can help me along my job search path.
    Yes        No
  7. I’m clear on ideas and the needed resources to make the job search path a successful one.
    Yes        No
  8. I keep in touch with all past acquaintances and colleagues.
    Yes        No
  9. I know at least 25 people well enough to call and say, Hi, do you know anyone in the area of______________, and would you mind my calling them on my behalf?
    Yes        No
  10. I have at least one person who encourages me to continue on the path toward landing a job.
    Yes        No

Total Yes Answers: _________________

0-3 You need to begin networking today or the job will be a difficult endeavor to achieve.

4-6 You can enhance your job-searching success by learning the basics of networking.

10 Through the power of networking you are on your way to finding the job you need fast.