Sometimes, the best way to land a job is more obvious than it may seem. For my clients and me, it’s networking.
The power of your connections and making new ones cannot be understated. LinkedIn research suggests that 85% of open roles are filled via networking. In fact, some experts posit that the majority of good jobs are filled before they're ever even posted.
Networking doesn’t have to be awkward or unpleasant. So many people feel shy away from sharing their stories and asking people for advice and introductions. Let me ask you this: How do you feel when someone asks you for some support? It feels pretty good, right? We all get a boost of positivity when we show kindness to others.
Networking is a two-way street — you’re doing the other person a favor and giving yourself the best chance for success.
Do you have a networking game plan in place? Here are three strategies that even extreme introverts can (and must do) when looking for new career opportunities.
Network With Your Superhero Allies
Consider the five people who have been the most instrumental in your career development thus far. These are your superhero connections. Always start here. These allies know your abilities and are invested in your continued success. These relationships must be your ongoing priority. Your successes are their successes. Show ongoing gratitude to the career superheroes in your life, and they will be right there to save the day when you need them.
One of my clients recently reached out to a former boss and shared she was looking for a new role. He immediately connected her to someone he knew looking for a marketing consultant. She was asked to join the company full-time when she completed that assignment. Note that none of this was posted anywhere online.
Network Deep Within Your Circle
Next, go deep within your network. Scroll through your social media and LinkedIn connections to remind you of the amazing people you haven’t spoken to in a while. They would love to hear from you, offer some advice, and connect you to other people who could get you closer to your goals.
For the truly bold, use a broad approach. Write a post and share it on all your social media platforms. Express your strengths, a couple of accomplishments, and what your goal is now.
Another client got amazing job leads and recommendations by doing this on Facebook. Often, it’s the people we know but haven’t talked to in a while who come forward with ideas we hadn't considered and generous offers to make introductions. Don't underestimate the power of your extended network of connections.
Network With Strangers
Uploading your resume to a job board must be just the beginning. You can’t just sit back and wait. Even if you don’t know anyone that knows anyone at a company, you can still strategically network. LinkedIn is your secret weapon. Simply search by company name and title to find someone in the department you have applied to. Send them a message and ask them if they would be open to giving you some insights and ensure your resume gets to the right place.
You can try to find a recruiter or human resource connection, yet one of my friends got very bold. He emailed the person he thought would be the senior leader of the department. The person was so impressed with the proactive outreach and well-aligned credentials, he interviewed my friend and gave him the opportunity.
Always make networking your career development priority.
Network with people you know well, your extended connections, and strangers. Don't be shy. Ask for support. You are doing yourself and them a favor. Nothing is more gratifying than supporting someone in maximizing their career potential. And nothing is more important than continuing to cultivate meaningful connections with people.
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