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How to Network and Quickly Find a Job

Some people take to networking very quickly and almost instantly find themselves a job, whilst others find it difficult, almost impossible and just can't make it work for them.

We'll take you through all the steps you need to go through to become a successful at networking, from using online networking to the more traditional approach of making telephone and face-to-face contacts.

Aims and Objectives

In life, you always have people telling you that you need to set yourself objectives. But, in networking if you don't set yourself objectives, you'll never achieve anything. To be successful at networking, you need to be very proactive and make things happen, you can't just sit back and expect people to contact you.

You need to take the lead, to build up a list of contacts that can help you find a job. You need to make finding a job the priority when you initially build up your network of contacts, but you should then maintain your network afterwards.

When you're looking for a job, try not to lose focus - keep thinking about your overriding objective of finding a new job. Some people get so wrapped up in their network that they spend so much time on maintaining it that they have no time left for actually looking for a job, don't let this happen to you.

How To Start Your Network

Before you even start networking, make sure that you have an up-to-date CV, as you can bet that the first thing some people will say is "Send us your CV". Get your CV sorted now, otherwise you'll look unprepared.

To improve, update or create a new CV from scratch, please see our CV tips section or our CV writing service can professionally produce a CV that highlights your experience and skills that will make employers take notice of you and make them wish to interview you.

Once you're CV is ready, you are then ready to start networking. Start by contacting all the existing people you know - friends, family, colleagues, former colleagues, etc. These people will form your initial network and then you can move onto people you haven't spoken to or seen for a while.

Your aim is to find out if they know of a job / employer that would be suitable for you and also to use their contacts too. This should be an easy conversation to have with friends and family, and can just be dropped into your normal conversation.

But, you may find it more difficult with colleagues and former colleagues and you should always be a bit careful (whoever you're talking to), as you don't want to make your current job to become untenable (if you're still there). Start by asking how they are doing in their career, before you move on to what you want to do next.

Always try to get new contacts, so that you can expand your network and make sure you set yourself weekly targets - i.e. that you'll contact a set number of people each week.

How to Grow Your Network

You will need to grow your network of contacts, if you hope to use it to find a job. Here's just a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Take a look at the websites of employers you'd like to work for, as well as a jobs section, you may be able to interact with them and get contact names direct from their website or through social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Recruitment agencies are always on the look out for suitable candidates for their clients (employers), it's a good idea to network with them as much as possible through telephoning them and through LinkedIn.
  • Online networking websites (such as LinkedIn), allow you to create a Profile and then network with other people directly.
  • Trade shows / conferences / meetings: You can interact with people and swap business cards, and you can then contact them afterwards.
  • You should set yourself objectives in terms of the number of new contact you make, as well as spending time interacting with your existing contacts.

How to Maintain Your Network

Don't just take and take from your network, try and give back as much or more to your network. People are far more willing to reciprocate if you have been helpful to them and their career - so feed them useful titbits of information that you have found out that would be of interest to them.

You need to become memorable, so that they in turn will feed you useful and relevant information.

It usually becomes quickly apparent who is likely to be helpful to you and your career and who won't be - keep the helpful one's and don't be afraid to drop those who aren't helpful. You must focus on those contact who will yield results for you.

Even after you have successfully found a new job, you should try to maintain your new network, as these people may be helpful to you later in your career.

What next?

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