4 Easy Steps to Use Networking to Get a Job

networking to get a job

Maybe you’ve heard stories about people successfully networking to get a job. It’s always a sister’s friend’s cousin. But there actually is a lot of truth behind this. Every single job I’ve gotten in the last 20 years has been through networking. I realize this is not the most valid statistic. But just ask people you know how they got their job. I’m betting many will tell you they knew someone who knew someone.

But what exactly does networking look like? The term “networking” is pretty broad. I’ll admit, as a career coach I throw this word around a lot assuming people know what to do when I say “you need to network.” But I think what I often don’t realize is that my friends and clients do not in fact know what the heck I’m talking about or the exact steps to take to network their way into their dream job.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t submit resumes the traditional way (i.e. responding to job announcements or sending your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager). Fortunately, the internet has made it incredibly easy for job seekers to submit dozens of resumes online in a single day. Unfortunately, that means that dozens of applicants, sometimes hundreds, are competing for the same job.

Therefore, the chances of actually landing an interview become pretty slim.

As a career coach for nearly twenty years, I often come across clients who feel a lack of control in the job search process. But it turns out that job seekers actually have much more power and control to land their dream job than they realize.

That’s not to say that applying for jobs on online job boards like Monster, Indeed, and Simply Hired is a complete waste of time. People do get interviews from responding to advertised job postings. But if you’re spending all of your time using only one job search method, the chances are good that you’ll be searching for a long time.

Below are four simple strategies to use networking to get a job:

Step #1: Grow your professional network

I realize that for many job seekers networking can seem incredibly daunting. My advice is to start with one or two reputable online platforms to begin building your network:

Build your contacts on LinkedIn

With over 600 million members, LinkedIn is by far the largest and most reputable professional networking platform. LinkedIn is probably the easiest platform to start with when networking to get a job. LinkedIn offers step-by-step guides that walk you through how to add contacts to your professional network in a targeted, meaningful way. Keep in mind, when it comes to growing your network to land a job, it’s quality over quantity. If you simply add hundreds of people to your network, your numbers might grow but you will probably not get the results you want. Don’t have a LinkedIn account? Click here to learn all about how to create one!

Join LinkedIn groups

Again, be strategic. Rather than joining dozens of groups based on all of your interests, search for professional groups and associations that are related to your current or targeted industry. Once you get accepted into a group, be sure to participate by liking, commenting on, and sharing posts, as well as writing some of your own posts.

Participate in Facebook Groups

Similar to LinkedIn Groups, you can join groups related to your targeted field and share and receive relevant information like industry news and local networking events. Facebook has mom and parent groups galore, as well as groups for just about any other interest or niche you can imagine.

Join professional associations

Whether you are a seasoned professional, recent graduate, or student, professional associations provide incredible opportunities to use networking to get a job, as well as valuable tools and resources. Getting connected will get you well on your way to building your professional network.

See related: Five Signs You Shouldn’t Accept a Job Offer

Step #2: Conduct informational interviews

Informational interviews are conversations you have with professionals working in companies or fields of interest. It’s important to note, however, that informational interviews are not about asking someone to hook you up with a job.

Below are some recommended steps to take to make your informational interviews successful:

Figure out your approach in terms of asking for an interview

You can message professionals through LinkedIn, Facebook, SnapChat, or other social media platforms.

Make your message short and to the point

You can say something like “Hello, I am a _____ professional / student in _____ field and I am currently looking for _____ position. If you know of someone working in this field who you think would be willing to do an informational interview, please message me. Thanks!”

Contact professionals directly

Here is an example of a short message you can use to ask for an informational interview:

Dear Mr. / Ms. _____. My name is _______ and I am a {student} {professional} studying / working in _____ field. I noticed in your LinkedIn profile that you have worked in XYZ field for over ten years. If you are willing, I would love to chat via phone for 15 minutes to learn more about your background and how you got started in the field. Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, ______________.”

Prepare for the interview

Write down a list of questions (around 5-6) and keep the focus on the professional you are interviewing versus yourself. Sample questions include: How did you get started in your field? What is the most challenging thing about working in ____ field? What do you find most rewarding about working in XYZ company? Tell me about the biggest challenges facing professionals in the field? Do you have any advice for a young / new professional just getting started in the field? Is there anybody else with whom you think I should connect?

Send a thank you note

Try to do it within 24 hours if possible (email is fine). Reiterate a few things you talked about during the interview to demonstrate your listening skills and enthusiasm for the industry. You can also mention that you might follow up / check in in a month or a couple months if it’s okay. That way you are keeping the door open. Positions become available in companies all the time, and your contact might be willing to forward your resume to the hiring manager.

See related: Top 10 LinkedIn Mistakes for Moms Returning to Work

Step #3: Contact employers of interest directly

Is there an employer or company that you are really excited about? You don’t have to wait for a posted opportunity to get in touch! Very few job seekers contact employers directly, so this is an excellent way to set yourself apart. Following the steps listed below will help you connect with companies of interest and use networking to get a job:

Follow companies

Follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for Google alerts. By following companies and / or industries of interest you can keep updated on pertinent news and trends. Use this information to send a letter of interest.

Send a prospecting letter or letter of interest

A prospecting letter is basically an introduction of yourself to an employer. In this, you highlight your relevant skills, experience, and potential value-add. If you have learned about a new contract a company has received, for example, you can also mention this in your letter. Here is an example of an opening paragraph of a prospecting letter:

“I follow XYZ company on LinkedIn and was excited to learn about the acquisition of XYZ contract. With my background in ______ and ______, I feel I could make a significant contribution to this new program by applying my knowledge of _________________.

Step #4: Attend in-person networking events

Attending conferences, trade shows, and smaller networking events and mixers is an excellent way to get yourself outside your comfort zone and use networking to get a job. If you’re more of an introvert like myself, the thought of making small talk at a large group event might not seem appealing. But sometimes taking yourself out of your comfort zone can be just the thing you need to ingnite your job search and get some traction.

Try practicing having conversations about your career with people you know before a networking event. Try coming up with an elevator pitch so you are prepared and confident when introducing yourself.

If budget is a factor, try attending local events. You can also try to search online for professional associations and find a local chapter in your area.

In Conclusion

Using networking to get a job is straightforward once you learn about the process and practice your networking skills. It’s important to remember that networking takes time and effort. You don’t get the immediate satisfaction of hitting the “send” button that you get when you blast your resume out to dozens of employers.

However, if you put in the effort and keep your network up to date (even when you’re not looking for a job), your efforts will absolutely pay off in the long run, and you will wind up with a job that’s a great fit.

How can I effectively use networking to get a job?

Networking can greatly increase your chances of landing a job by connecting you with valuable contacts and opportunities in your desired industry. By building relationships and leveraging these connections, you can gain insights, referrals, and access to hidden job opportunities.

How do SERP and rich result guidelines impact networking for job search?

When it comes to networking for job search, it’s important to consider the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and rich result guidelines. Optimizing your online presence, especially on platforms like LinkedIn, can improve your visibility and attract potential employers. By following the guidelines, such as using relevant keywords, providing complete and accurate information, and engaging with others on the platform, you can increase your chances of being discovered by recruiters and hiring managers.

What is the biggest mistake job seekers make when networking to get a job?

A common mistake job seekers make is not being gracious. For example, after a professional does an informational interview with you, or a contact goes out of their way to pass your resume along, make sure to send a thank you card or at least a thank you email.

  • Lee Cristina Beaser

    MS, CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer)

    Lee brings over two decades of expertise in guiding individuals towards career success. Having helped thousands of professionals in a wide variety of industries, she has a deep understanding of the intricacies of the job market. Lee founded The Career Counter, a platform dedicated to providing busy people, especially moms returning to the workforce, with tools and services tailored to their unique career goals.

    Our Founder has over 20 years of experience helping people like you

Leave the first comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.