What is Networking?

A lot of people think networking is going to meetings and handing out business cards. It’s really much simpler than that…..

Networking is interacting with other people.

For friendship. For mutual benefit. For learning. For sales leads. For jobs and promotions. For most any purpose. For the purposes of this site, we concentrate on building and deepening your professional network.

You Should Network During Your Job Search

The research is clear, using your network is the most effective and efficient way to find a job.

Referrals are 10x more likely to be hired than people that randomly apply for jobs.

A recent LinkedIn study says that over 70% of people surveyed were hired at a company where they had a connection.

In this interview with NPR, Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons, reminds us that most jobs aren’t even posted or public. So, if you want to find a job, most jobs aren’t even visible to you without a network connection.

What is the Best Way to Network?

The best networking advice I’ve ever received is simple:

  • Get out there and build relationships
  • Give at least as much as you receive

The best and most successful relationships are ones of give and take, not just take. The same is true of networking. If you only ask for help, and never give it, people will be less likely to have a deep relationship with you and will be less likely to help you. Don’t just reach out to your network when you need a job.

The key  is to always be nurturing your network. Spend the most time on close friends but spend some time on the whole of your network. The second level of your network, people that are closely networked with your close network, end up being the people that help you find work. They are also the people that help you grow and learn. Because you aren’t closely tied to them, it is likely they have interests and knowledge you are not regularly exposed to. Because these people don’t know you directly, it is important to have a good online presence. That’s the first place (after your friend talks to them) that they will look for information about you.

Job Search Networking – More Things to Consider

There a many, many things to think about when it comes to networking. Here are just a few key things (most of these are also covered in more detail in blog posts here, just click the embedded links):

  • Building and maintaining your network takes work. You should be doing this even when you aren’t looking for work.
  • Research is clear, even introverts can network.
  • Social media and networking online is critical.
  • You probably already have access to a large network. Things like alumni networks, or social organizations, and more.
  • Your network can help you with more than just knowing what jobs are out there. It is especially important in finding out what a company culture, and maybe the hiring manager, are like. A mismatch of management style and culture is the number one source of job dissatisfaction. Finding the right fit is as, or more, important than finding the exact right job duties.
  • Going to networking events can be intimidating. The key is to be yourself, and not to be overly formal. There are a lot of good tips here on how to attend a networking meeting.

Nothing is more critical to opening doors to interviews, and to landing a new job, than networking. Here at Laid Off Better Off we are committed to helping you improve your networking skills. I recently came across a great resource for college graduates. But, a lot of that advice works for any job searcher, really.A full list of networking articles can be found on our networking page.