Leverage your network for job search success!

It’s only Tuesday, and I’ve had three conversations about why is networking an effective job search strategy and the importance of leveraging your personal network throughout a job search. It must be worth a post!

How does leveraging your network help in a job search?

Your network can help you land interviews.  The hardest part of landing a job is standing out and getting an interview. If you know someone who is hiring (or could influence the process), leverage that relationship for a courtesy interview. A primary job search goal is to land as many formal and informal interviews as possible. Interviews will improve your communication skills and potentially indicate whether an organization is a good fit.

Your network can be a trusted source of candid feedback. Use those who are connected to you personally, professionally, or academically to your advantage. They can provide honest feedback about job prospects, assess your skills, and tell you how you might fare in a particular organizational culture. Use this information to determine whether you even want to pursue a particular job opening. And–if you decide to–how to best position your skills and accomplishments to land an eventual offer.

So, how do you effectively leverage your network in a job search?

Here are some quick tips for leveraging your network. (For our clients using our career coaching services, we explore their networks and brainstorm how to strategically leverage the most critical people).

  1. Provide regular, useful updates on your professional social networks about what you’re up to professionally. Maybe you’re in between jobs, but have been doing some really meaningful volunteer work. Snap some pictures and post about why you’re volunteering for this particular cause, and what it means to you. Or, perhaps you are employed, and your team is working on an important project. Give an update on the status of the project (assuming you can communicate publicly about it) and a note about what you have contributed to the project’s development.

  2. Nurture relationships with key members of your network. Create a list of 5-8 key members of your network. Consider those well-connected in your field, those seen as leaders, and those in positions to influence hiring. Check in with those people every month or so. Do some quick research about what they are posting about and working on. Congratulate them on an accomplishments, or invite them out for coffee to learn more about a project they are working on. Consistently nurturing key professional relationships eases the process of asking for assistance when the time is right.

  3. Don’t forget the power of networking events. I know. I don’t really like them either. But nothing beats in-person conversations when it comes to meaningful networking. Stay aware of networking events hosted by professional associations, alumni networks, or other affinity group. Set a goal of attending at least one networking event per month. The small talk really does get easier, especially if you plan your event objectives, including your target colleagues and key questions. This planning will drive generative conversations and get you the information (and connections!) you’re looking for.