With more people today out of work, the number of applicants for open positions is growing rapidly and the competition for jobs is intense. When you apply for a sought after position, there could be hundreds of applicants vying for the same job. In those situations, applicants with a resume that most closely mirrors the job posting will be the ones getting the interviews. So how can you get your foot in the door? The best way is by networking, finding a way to meet someone in the company who can introduce you to the hiring manager.
Where to Start
• Be clear about the types of positions and companies you would like to work for.
• Begin asking everyone – friends, co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, community group members, college alumni association, you name it – to help find people who are employed in these types of positions and/or work at your preferred organizations.
• Locate groups that you have a connection to in your community and attend their meetings and conferences. Regularly attend meetings of the groups that interest you most so that people recognize you. You can find information on community groups by taking a quick look in the calendar section of a local publication.
There are many venues for networking, including social and professional networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, to help get you in contact with colleagues, co-workers and friends.
Remember, most people you meet while networking have been in the same position as you and are more than willing to help you find a job.
• In all networking interactions: Come across as focused and professional by being well prepared. This will allow a networking contact to feel confident about referring you to a colleague or friend.
• At group networking meetings: Always have a business card to hand out. Avery Dennison makes a nice template package which will help you make a professional looking card that includes your contact information.
• At other business meetings: Almost everyone at meetings feels nervous about introducing themselves. Take a little time to get to know them before mentioning your networking request.
• If someone agrees to help you: Quickly follow up with a thank-you note and, if appropriate, take the opportunity to arrange a time for a follow up meeting.
Networking doesn’t work overnight. It takes time and effort to meet people and sustain networking efforts. But it usually pays off in the end, and it also allows you to meet some great people.