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Networking can be the difference between a successful job search and one that remains stagnant. Networking can give you a leg up on your competitors and get you hired faster, even when jobs are scarce and competition is at all-time highs. So how do you turbo-charge your networking results to get hired? Here are 5 networking tips you can incorporate into your networking plan:
- Good times, bad times: Although the first reaction of most people is to reach out to those in your network when something immediate – like a layoff or a promotion – has happened, don’t let that be your only time when you contact people. Twice each week make time in your schedule to contact someone in your network via a call, email, or text to share information, ask about their work, or to simply to say hi. This simple, social action will keep you fresh in their minds, and they will be more likely to help out when you do need it.
- Give back: For networking to be successful, it needs to be a two-way street. Therefore, instead of only asking for help for yourself, you need to show interest in others, and go out of your way to give them help when they need it, either in person or online. For example, you can provide information when they need it, offer suggestions, answer questions, or provide referrals. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly people will respond to you, and they will more be apt to endorse you, answer questions when you have them, or give you referrals.
- Stick with what you know: When you need to turbo charge your networking right now, sticking with what you know is an efficient tactic. Therefore, instead of branching out to seek new networking associates, maintain and improve the network you already have, become active in the associations to which you already belong, and resume contact with college alumni or former co-workers. Starting a topical dialog will be easier, which helps to turbo charge your networking and helps you get hired faster.
- Think quality, not quantity: It’s great to have a long list of networking contacts, and of course the people you know know people who know people, so quantity does count, but your relationships need to be meaningful if you are going to be successful in your job search. So when you need to turbo charge your networking, focus on the quality contacts in your list. Make time to strengthen your relationships with those people who can really make a difference to your career now. Include mentors as well as peers.
- Ask for what you want. When you are turbo charging your job search, don’t be vague or coy with what you want with your contacts. Be direct, and ask politely yet confidently about what you need and how that person can help you. It will save time and energy for both of you. Be sure to thank the person afterward, or return the favor.
There are different networking tips you can use to network your way to the ultimate job search goal: getting hired. But when you need to accelerate your networking results quickly, consider the tips above. Not only will they help you get hired faster, but they will also set the stage for a longer-term networking strategy that will keep you in good standing at every stage of your career.
Updated from a post originally published on this blog October 13, 2013