How important is networking to finding a new job? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only five percent of people find jobs through the open market, usually through help wanted ads, internet job boards and so on. Another 24 percent find jobs by contacting companies directly while 23 percent are successful thanks to employment agencies, headhunters and college career-services offices. The remaining 48 percent — almost one of every two job-seekers — find employment through referrals from others.
That’s why networking should be your number one job-search strategy. This article about career planning provides you with key networking tips you can utilize while you are currently working.
But, even if you have a job that you love, I encourage you to develop your personal networks and networking skills. In today’s troubling economy, no one’s job is totally secure. If you should suddenly find yourself unemployed, having a well-established network will give you a distinct advantage over your competitors.
In this article about career planning, you will learn the five easy ways to jumpstart your networking efforts:
- Join professional organizations. According to Katharine Hansen, author of the book “A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market,” professional organizations are the number one venue for networking.
- Volunteer. Hansen says volunteer work is the second most effective way to expand your network. Plus, you’ll gain the satisfaction from helping those in need in your community
- Be active in other organizations or activities that expose you to new people. This could be your church, your school’s alumni association, local chamber of commerce, service clubs like Rotary or Kiwanis, Toastmasters, a book club, bowling league or bridge club. Avoid only socializing with people you work with. Constantly strive to expand your circle of friends and acquaintances.
- Religiously keep names, titles and contact numbers of people you meet. Even if it’s a one-time phone conversation with a vendor, that person might someday provide you with a valuable job lead. So keep track of contact and other information that may help you reconnect with the person in the future. For example, make a note on his/her business card that reminds you that he/she is “active in animal rights work, daughter JoAnne attending Harvard Law, etc.”
- Look for ways to keep in touch and to build a positive impression with people you meet. For example, when an acquaintance wins an award or is mentioned favorably in an industry trade journal, send him/her a note or email of congratulations. Or forward a sales lead, news article or web site that you think would be of interest to that person. He or she will be more inclined to help you if you have gone out of your way to help them.
This article on career planning is intended to get you started in the right direction for keeping your career options open. For personalized career advice, contact Garfinkle Executive Coaching. Our business consulting services are designed to help business professionals succeed—no matter what stage of their career they are in. Whether you are just starting out and want to learn how to stand out, get recognized and move ahead in the company, or you already have a successful career, but are looking to shift gears and change career paths, Garfinkle Executive Coaching gives you the tools and resources to be the executive, manager or supervisor that you want to be.
Copyright ©2005-2017 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.
Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world's leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Visit Joel online at Garfinkle Executive Coaching. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, 40 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!
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