Best practices forÂ finding jobsÂ have changed in the past few years. Job seekers need to know the most current ways to optimize rÃ©sumÃ©s to be found, how to apply for jobs online and how to connect with new contacts using social media.
How to network better
However, one thing remains constant: the importance of networking. Referrals are a leading source of jobs, and the best way to ensure your rÃ©sumÃ© reaches a decision maker is to have an insider suggest you as a candidate. Even though networking is a time-honored, valuable professional skill, many people clumsily believe they are networking by approaching strangers with requests for help or by telling everyone they know that they are on the job market. Unfortunately, that is not really networking: it’s asking people for jobs. These are two distinct activities, and job seekers need to know the difference to tap into the market successfully.
Paulett Eberhart, CEO of CDI Corporation, an integrated engineering and technology services organization, suggests the following points to help precent graduatesÂ and new professionals make the crucial transition from using networks for personal reasons to tapping them for professional advancement:
1. Help others before you help yourself.Â Clearly identify how you can add value. “The employer is always looking for what new hires can bring to the table,” Eberhart says. “When you network, demonstrate how well you can benefit a team, client or company.”
2. Value face-to-face time.Â Social networking is a great way toÂ expand your networkÂ and demonstrate your expertise. However, don’t get stuck online and forget about face-to-face contact. “It’s important to send out networking emails and build your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook connections, but there’s inherent value in a firm handshake and the opportunity to put a face to a name at an in-person meeting,” Eberhart says.
3. Invest in relationships.Â It is easy to confuse a good contact with a good relationship. A contact is someone you meet and who may or may not recognize your name when you touch base in the future. Relationships require maintenance and upkeep. If you want successful relationships, Eberhart suggests you keep conversations going byÂ touching base regularly. Email links to information or news you think your contacts would appreciate. Congratulate them on personal accomplishments or when their company attracts positive press. Meet for lunch or coffee and keep up with changes they’d need to make to be successful. If there’s a way you can help them, do it.
4. Tell people what you want.Â You need to know what you offer and what you need before anyone can help you. Be open and concise. Eberhart says: “Never be shy about approaching people for help.
5. Look beyond the obvious.Â Don’t overlook the opportunity to network in all different environments. Seek networking opportunities everywhere you go, whether it’s while you’re traveling, while running an errand or volunteering. People don’t need to be in your industry or line of work to be able to provide great resources for you.
6. Don’t take “no” for an answer.Â Timing is everything. “Don’t letÂ a ‘no’discourage you, and certainly don’t dismiss it as a closed door,” Eberhart says. “It may be a ‘not now’ rather than a ‘no.’ Keep the lines of communication open and think strategically.
Read the rest at U.S News & World Report.
Photo byÂ Nicola Corboy