4 Simple Networking Tips for Job Seekers

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talking bubbles and head silhouettesWe all know the value of networking, especially when it comes to gaining employment. I have witnessed the power of networking in my own career, especially when it came to opening doors for me to meet the right people.

For example, when looking for internships and jobs after college, a relative who previously worked at a major publishing company in New York passed along my resume to her former boss. Her boss was so impressed that she forwarded my resume to the HR department, all the while “talking me up.” Needless to say, after an interview, I was offered the internship.

During the internship, I became acquainted with the head of HR who introduced me to key people in the company who were able to help me with my own outside ventures in freelance writing.

Even recently, while visiting my supervisor and colleagues at a former internship, I learned a position had opened up in the company and my previous boss would have loved to consider me for it (I obviously already have a job though).

What’s my point? Networking and fostering and maintaining connections are essential components to becoming successful. So, if you’re currently looking for a job  opportunity – or even just looking to explore opportunities in your field – then you could be part of the many who have found jobs via networking by brushing up on your skills in this arena. Keep the following tips in mind and you simply can’t go wrong:

1. Do Volunteer Work

Volunteering is actually one of the most valuable things that anyone can do when it comes to making a splash in regards to their field. Choose opportunities in areas that are related to your field in order to gain valuable experience that can help you up your game at work. You’ll not only be doing something great to contribute to your community, but you’ll find you run into limitless opportunities to make valuable contacts. You never know exactly who you may encounter when lending a hand, but one thing you’ll already have to your advantage to make a connection is the fact that you’re both volunteering. Sharing this mutual experience can help initiate a promising connection.Volunteering is also something that looks stellar on a resume and definitely gives you an advantage over other candidates.

2.  Join Organizations Related to Your Profession

Many successful job seekers would site this particular tip as one that really works in a big way should you ask them for their secrets. As is the case with doing volunteer work, joining professional organizations puts you in direct contact with lots of other people in your field or career path of choice. Not only does this include bigwigs and movers-and-shakers who can really help give you a leg up when it comes to advancement, but you’ll also makes some great social contacts as well.

3. Maintain Your Social Media Presence

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just fun places to chat with your friends and kill a few hours on a slow Saturday. They are also hotbeds of professional opportunity, so if you’re not already using them as such, you should really consider doing so. It’s especially advisable that you become active on Facebook and LinkedIn, as both are known for being a great place to make professional connections. In fact, according to the infographic 100 Social Networking Statistics and Facts for 2012, 61 percent of users use LinkedIn as their primary professional networking site while another 42 percent update their profiles regularly.

Maintain an active profile, join discussion groups, participate in conversations, and watch the opportunities start rolling in.

4. Interview People for Informational Purposes

One of the best ways to know how to proceed in your career path is to bend the ears of those who are (or were) where you’re ultimately looking to be. Ask them what they wish someone had told them when they were in your shoes. What would they do differently? What would they definitely do the same way? What tips can they give you for getting yourself on the fast track to success and keeping yourself there? Informational interviews can be an especially good networking option for those who are just entering the workforce or planning on doing so soon, as they help you get started in the right direction from the get-go.

By Shala Marks