Are you exhausted from applying for numerous jobs and receiving rejection emails? You must be in the same boat with me. I surely have been disappointed by another email saying “Sorry but we decided to move on with another candidate.” Sometimes, I am left up in the air without knowing what happened to my job application.
Working at The Selling Factory opened my eyes to see a better way of landing opportunities for career development. Instead of spending hours performing a job search on LinkedIn, I should have used that time contacting different types of networking connections such as alumni and working professionals.
Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons, advises many young professionals to take time to speak with employers. “The majority of hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.” In fact, “at least 70%, if not 80%, of jobs are not published,” he says.
Networking can lead you to connect with employers and allow you to become an employer yourself. One of The Selling Factory alumni, Erin Winick, shares that someone whom she connected with in college helped her find an incubator for her startup company, Sci Chic (Sci Chic is a science-inspired, 3D printed jewelry retail). Winick adds that her network also came in handy in life. Before moving to London, she already knew friends who could help her settle.
Get out of your comfort zone. Not many people have the courage to cold call when reaching out to people, especially those not in your area of expertise. Though studying mechanical engineering in college, Winick now works in as a Science Communications Specialist for the Internal Space Station. In college, she wishes that she could have networked with people who aren’t directly related to her studies. “I am curious if I missed the opportunity to network with others that shared my interest,” she says. Research shows that only 27% of college graduates had a job that was closely related to their major.
You don’t know what the future holds, so why not challenge yourself to broaden your network across industries now? Who knows what opportunities will pop up?
Maximize your LinkedIn account. In the 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, 77% of recruiters used LinkedIn to find candidates. This means that you will have more opportunities for career development via LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account or haven’t updated your profile, do so now because you are missing out on opportunities for career development. Stay active! In addition to sharpening your profile, connect with different types of networking connections such as peers and alumni. Comment and share posts relevant to your industry. Although you may tend to socialize more on Instagram, put equal effort into your LinkedIn account than your Instagram account.
Make 100 new contacts each month. Volume is a big part of securing a job through networking. “It takes X number of contacts to get this many appointments, to get this many chances of actually getting a sales opportunity or a job,” Youngquist says. Pretend that you are a sales development representative responsible for selling ‘you.’ If you are performing a job search on LinkedIn, then you should also make at least 100 new contacts each month. Cold calling recruiters via email, sending connection messages on Linkedin, and attending events for face-to-face encounters with employers are ways to reach this goal.
Everyone has to eat. Many professionals are very busy even if they mean to help you. Ask someone to meet over lunch. This is a good time to chat without having to carve out their valuable time. Before meeting, write out the questions you would like to ask and let them know the topic you would like to discuss. Winick suggests thinking about what you could also offer them in return. “The best relationships are not one-way but two-way relationships,” says Winick.
If you are struggling with your job search on LinkedIn without making personal connections, change up your strategy. Review your different types of networking connections. Revisit your past connections and establish new connections. Be proactive in building relationships, even if they are not directly related to your industry field. You never know how these diverse types of networking connections will help you in the future!
Building your social circle will help you to go a long way in life. That’s why I put together these tips on how to network.