Networking is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself find a new job. But there are so many things to remember when starting a job search, I thought you might want a basic networking “how to” checklist to help guide you through the ways to network effectively.
But first, if you would like to review what goes into a successful job search:
It also might help to read about how to approach networking in a way that will help you not only connect now, but build relationships that can last for the rest of your career:
And now … let’s check out some of the ways you can network for a new job!
Job search networking tips checklist
When you begin a job search, you want to start finding possible human resources to connect with not only to find jobs directly, but to help you find other people to speak with – and maybe even champion you along the way. This is the best way to get past the gray walls of human resources.
So where do you look for these networking connections?
- Places you went to school – Think about teachers or professors you especially connected with. Many of them would love to help you! And don’t forget the career and alumni offices at colleges and universities. They have resources to help – and maybe even contact information for alumni in the fields you’re interested in.
- Former jobs and volunteer work – If you’ve worked or maybe volunteered in places that are related to the kind of working you’re looking for, don’t be shy about sending a friendly email to a former boss or co-worker letting them know what you’re up to and asking if they know anyone you might speak with. It’s how I’ve found some of my jobs.
- Friends and family – I don’t mean the phone plan. I mean this is the time to involve them in your exciting adventure. Why do I say it that way? A person is more likely to want to help and actually enjoy it if they are part of something positive. “Oh man … I need a job so badly!” is different than saying with excitement “I’ve decided I want to work in ___ and have been (give them one or two things you’ve done that show commitment and determination) and am looking for people to speak with in that field. Do you know anyone I might speak with?”
- Informational interviews – An informational interview is a meeting with a person (by phone or even better in person) where you ask questions about the field or company you’re interested in to help you better understand where to look for jobs and how to market and present yourself. You can find them through any of the sources I list above or below. (Hint: This isn’t always about talking to someone who has THE job. You’re helping yourself get closer – and maybe even find someone to recommend or champion you along the way.)
- Volunteering – Volunteering during your job search is a great way to stay busy, confident and gather new experience if you’re unemployed. But even if you have a job it can be a wonderful way to meet people who might know someone who is hiring or at least can help.
- Social media – I saved this one for last, even though social media is a powerful place to find names and meet people who might help. Here are two articles that will help you get a sense of the ways social media can help you:
Some final thoughts
Networking for jobs certainly requires a concerted effort, but it also works best when it is part of everyday life, whatever you’re doing. Even standing in line at a grocery. If you engage folks naturally in your story, and are genuinely excited by your job search adventure, you might just find an answer where you weren’t even looking!