According to LinkedIn, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. In fact, many employment opportunities are never even publicly posted; you need to know someone to be aware that the opportunity exists. Here’s how to use networking to your advantage.
Maintain Your LinkedIn Profile and Connect With Your Colleagues
You can begin networking online by creating, filling out, or updating your LinkedIn profile. Connect with those you know on LinkedIn to expand your network; this will give you more information about what’s going on in your area and industry. LinkedIn operates like an online resume.
Join Networking Groups in and Outside of Your Area
Networking groups give you the opportunity to interact one-on-one with other professionals. Not only can you get advice regarding your chosen career path, but you’ll also be one of the first to learn about new jobs that come up. Networking groups inside of your area will give you local opportunities, while larger, national networking groups may help you make additional connections.
Let Your Contacts Know You’re Looking for Work
It’s important to always communicate with your contacts. Your contacts can’t consider you for a position if they don’t know that you’re looking for work. If you’re not interested in announcing it to your current employer, consider reaching out directly to a few people who you know in the industry. Even if they don’t know anything, they’ll be able to reach out.
Always Make Sure to Follow Through
When your contacts do come through with leads, be vigilant about following through — even if you aren’t interested in position. Politely declining a position is better than just ignoring the offer, as it will build relationships moving forward. When networking, it’s important to communicate often and clearly.
Be Specific About What You Want
Jobs in tech fields can vary considerably. Before you start networking for a new position, make sure you know exactly what you want. What type of job position are you looking for? In what area? At what salary? Knowing these things in advance will give your networking contacts a far better idea of the type of position you may be interested in.
Don’t Forget to Thank Them
If someone does find you a contact — whether or not it leads to a job — make sure to thank them appropriately and let them know that it was appreciated. In the future, they’ll be far more willing to recommend you and help you if you show the appropriate gratitude.
Through networking, you can not only get leads on more opportunities, but also better opportunities. It just takes some communication. Networking is something that happens over time; get started now to reap the full benefits.