Building your network in this era is just as important as building your resume. A large percentage of job openings are not even advertised, so who knows about these jobs? Connections do. Let’s take a look at how to expand your network.
What Networking Means
In short, networking is not much different than expanding your social circle. What’s significant about networking, is that these connections are built in a professional setting. Typically, they are made so that in the event of job opportunities, you will be contacted by your network connections.
Despite that networking feels self-serving, the relationships that people make within the work environment are actually quite meaningful. People won’t be eager to refer you to a job opportunity if you didn’t make a good impression on them. The key to creating a good network is to be willing and open-minded.
Tips to Help Expand your Network
Expanding your work connections doesn’t happen in distinguished steps, rather it’s the way you present yourself in the professional setting.
- Don’t lose contact with past co-workers and employers– You never know when an opportunity could come up where you could both benefit. Even if you’re just friends on Facebook or follow each other on Instagram, those connections matter.
- Participate in Co-op while studying– Many institutions offer co-op terms for students to gather work experience while also gaining school credit. It’s an awesome way to make connections. Some students even go back to their co-op job places and obtain full-time work.
- Volunteer– There are different ways you can volunteer. You can volunteer at one time events or if you’re part of a club, you can volunteer in their areas of need. Some non-profit organisations also advertise openings and you’ll have to apply for it like you’re applying for a job.
- Be active on social media– In the professional setting, the most common platforms are Twitter and LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to comment from time to time. Commenting and replying, especially on posts with not too many comments, can make the original poster curious and tap your profile.
- Join societies and clubs– Clubs and societies do exist outside of the school environment. There are many professional groups, like the Editor’s of Canada. They are more like a community that can help people find people in the same industry.
- Explore other industries– Everyone has other professional interests and hobbies. For example, if you like photography, you may find a network of photographers even though you work as a software engineer during the day.
- Don’t be shy to ask for referrals– Your friends and connections want to see you succeed. It also benefits them if you become a part of their workplace because they most likely enjoy your presence.
- Let everyone know what you’re doing– It’s as simple as that. How can people refer or seek your service if they don’t know it? So, put yourself out there and just let everybody know!
Why Your Network is Important
It can get intimidating thinking about trying to meet all these people, just for the sake of a job. The classic way of cover letters and resumes work just fine, so you probably don’t see yourself switching gears.
Rest assured, finding a job is easier when you have connections. If someone gives you a referral, you’ll most likely at least land an interview. The better your connection knows about you, the more they’ll be able to convince their employer to hire you.