In this technological age, job boards, social media and a host of other online tools have their place in your “job hunting” arsenal – but there is more to your career network than the social networking kind.
In order to maximise your opportunities you need to recognise that there is a missing “human factor” in online networks, which if this gap is not covered, could hinder your next career move. Here are our tips of how to make the most of the human aspect of your career network.
Start now – Career networking should be part of your regular routine, whether you are in the midst of a job search or not – why? Because you never know when, and through whom, you will find that dream job opportunity. If you have a career network in place, if those unexpected situations happen, it’s much easier to get started on that job search rather than begin from scratch.
Connect – The people in your career network should include anyone who can assist you with a job search or change in career direction. It could include current and past colleagues, line managers, business connections, recruitment consultants, alumni members, even friends or neighbours with similar interests, anyone with a connection that will help – remember though; this is not social, so keep your interactions in this network professional.
Stay connected and return the favour – It’s important that you stay in touch with your network regularly, even if you are not actively using them for a job search, your network will be more receptive to helping you when you need them if you keep in contact. Remember however that a network is very much “two way”, so if you come across information, articles or even a job opportunity, that a member of your network may find beneficial – pass it on!
More than the network – Your career network has many dimensions, and their reach goes much further than job leads. People in your network could provide you with referrals into companies that you are not aware of, inside information on an organisations where you’ve always wanted to be, insight into a field of work that you may want to explore or just advice on where best to look for positions and whether your CV ticks all the right boxes.
Get to those events – Whether it is an annual dinner of your professional association, a social event held by the alumni, or a business networking event open to all – networking in person works! Many of the attendees will have the same goal as you – expanding their network so make sure you have your business cards in hand.
Your career network is a valuable resource and taking the time to build and maintain it should be given regular attention to ensure that the connections you make today are used to the best of your ability further down the line when exploring your career options and searching for that next opportunity. Go on, start building – who can you connect with today to make that job hunt successful tomorrow?