If you’re looking for a job right now, you might be well aware that the talent pool is vast and very competitive, while there are not as many jobs available as there were in the spring of 2023. In addition, some companies will use AI to help screen the hundreds of applications they get daily, making it even tougher to stand out. Another complaint from hiring managers? They don’t know where to look in order to find the right person. How do you ensure that you’re up for consideration? You have to go back to basics and network!
Fact: Referrals are a major cause for employment consideration.
Back in 2020, 73% of professionals were hired because of a referral, while 70% of others landed jobs through networking with their professional contacts. When top recruitment professionals were surveyed in August of 2023, all of them said referrals were helpful in considering candidates. By reaching out and showing your interest, especially requesting a former coworker to refer you, you’re increasing the odds that your profile will be considered. Networking ensures that you’re considered for a future referral, too. Even if you don’t see an opening at the company you want to work for right now, networking with the right people can help you stay top of mind for emerging opportunities.
How can you network successfully?
Even if you’re an introvert, networking can be done effectively and consistently if you follow these tips:
Brush up before beginning to networkBefore even looking at jobs, you have to get your professional ducks in a row. Decide what you really want in your next job. Then, revise your resume, portfolio, and website to reflect how you're qualified for that role. Clean up your social media platforms. Practice interviewing so that you are confident in speaking to your skills ahead of time. Figure out what kind of salary and benefits you need. Doing all of this work for yourself upfront will allow you to lead your networking conversations with clear, confident, and consistent communication. You’ll know exactly what you want, what you’re worth salary-wise, and be able to talk about yourself with ease.
Make networking easy for the other personGiven that we’re all busy people, you need to lead your networking conversations with that in mind. Be proactive about finding times that work for you both and offer to schedule meetings. Make it convenient to meet with them in their neighborhood or close to their workplace. Be sure that your signature provides all your necessary contact info (like email, title, phone number, and pronouns) as well as important links. Respond promptly to any communication—even if they’re struggling to get back regularly. Always follow up with courtesy. These are simple ways to show that working with you is a breeze, that you’re an understanding person, and that you’re serious about the professional relationship.
Make sure networking is a two-way streetSometimes we’re so eager to land a job that we forget about the other person’s needs. Most of us get gratification from helping others, but it should never be assumed that this is enough of a reward for a person’s time. Offer to buy the person coffee or even lunch in exchange for their expertise and time. Ask about how they’re doing professionally and whether or not they need help in any areas. If they’re a recruiter, establish an ongoing relationship by offering to introduce them to professionals in your network. Essentially look for practical ways that you can return the huge favor they’re doing for you, either now or in the future—and then stick to your intentions.
TLDR; Networking is important for landing a job now more than ever. If you’re finding it difficult to stand out in a competitive candidate pool, networking toward a referral might be the best way to ensure you’re seen.
If you’re ready to make moves with that updated resume, portfolio, and profile, then we have a list of open positions for consideration!