Top 5 Networking Tips For Job Seekers

By Jeff Gillis

Being skilled at your job, having the right qualifications and work experience and having a finely tuned cover letter and resume are all excellent tools to have in your job seeking tool box, but there’s one tool that too often gets overlooked…networking to find a job.

How many times have you heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know…it’s who you know.”?

When it comes to job seeking, knowing the right people and leveraging those relationships responsibly through networking can make your job seeking quest infinitely easier.

Knowing someone who knows someone else can help move your finely tuned cover letter and resume out of the massive computer sorted “submission” pile and into the hands of the hiring manager, which in turn can help transform you from job seeker to gainfully employed.

Proper networking can also mean hearing ahead of time that a department is hiring, or that a job you’ve been angling for is opening up…even before the listing is posted! In many cases, solid industry connections are just as important in the quest for a new job as the skills and knowledge you bring to the table.

But what exactly is job networking?

In a nutshell, it’s about making genuine contacts and building long term relationships with other people who can either help you directly or connect you with others who can.

Often these relationships can lead to future jobs and opportunities that might not otherwise present themselves.

Solid networking can lead to things like referrals, advice, connections, and professional support.

Of course, in order to use networking in your job search, you have to first build your network, and that starts with a little bit of homework and introspection.

Building a Job Search Network

To become a master of career networking, begin by first identifying what you ultimate employment goal is.

By knowing exactly what you’re looking for, you can begin identifying the people who can help make that a reality.

Keep in mind that your contact list is bigger than just the people you’ve worked with in the past or that you’re working with right now. Your list should include people from all across your social network as well as any groups or organizations you socialize with both personally and professionally.

Good places to look for potential networking contacts include:

  • Groups you play sports with or clubs you belong to.
  • Classmates.
  • Social gatherings.
  • If you’ve graduated, look into your Alumni club.