How to Network Effectively as a Job-seeker in 2022

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To be honest, networking is something a lot of jobseekers do not want to do. A few times, we have talked about how networking with the right people can give you an advantage over others in your job-search strategy, but we haven’t given a complete guide on how to network effectively.

Do you know? A strong network of industry contacts can be helpful in getting you a good job and accelerating your career growth? Whether you are a fresh graduate or an experienced job seeker, we think it is important to build your network.

It can be overwhelming at first, but don’t worry, it can be rewarding, fun and it may not be as difficult as you think.

In simple terms, Networking is building relationships and connecting with others to develop professional and social contacts.

In this article we will cover the following:

Why networking is important in your job search

How to network effectively as a job seeker (top 5 tips)

What are the best channels to network on?

Who do you need to connect with?

How to keep the relationship going after the first network encounter

What is the best way to connect and advertise yourself to recruiters?

Networking is essential if you are looking to get jobs that will position you into building a career that you love. 80% of jobs are not gotten through applying online, but with personal and professional connections. 70% of jobs are not even listed publicly, so if you don’t network, you may be leaving too much on the table. When you build your social and professional network, they can tell you about jobs and give information about job openings, or recruiters that are currently hiring.

Networking is not only important for job seekers. If you’re currently employed, you also need to build your network because jobs don’t last forever. Wherever you are in your career, we advise you to start leveraging the power of networking as soon as possible.

How to network effectively as a job seeker (top 5 tips)

Now that you know why networking is important for your job search, we have done our research and come up with these tips to help you navigate the networking process easily even if you are shy or an introvert.

Tip 1: Understand what behavioural networking style works for you

People are different, an extrovert may find it easier to network than an introvert. It is important to be comfortable and confident in how you reach out to people so that you can appear in your best self.

You may be very comfortable meeting people in person, or you may prefer to do it online. Perhaps you prefer small crowds to big ones, it all boils down to knowing the right channels you can use to network effectively.

Tip 2: Get familiar with the Do’s of professional networking

Our top Do’s of networking are:

  • For a start, list out at least 20 people you’d like to connect with. Find out where you can find them, reach out and be of service in any way. Example, you can share their content or make a thoughtful contribution to their posts online.
  • Join communities, groups, and societies in the field of your choice. Offer help, discussions, and answer questions.
  • Give recommendations to people who have helped you in the past.
  • Make use of LinkedIn to build relationships.

Tip 3: Avoid the Don’ts of professional networking

Our top Don’ts of networking are:

  • Don’t shy away from networking opportunities
  • Don’t reach out to someone and ask for help immediately, this will make you seem desperate.
  • Don’t use informal or canned language, be unique and creative.
  • Don’t be too pushy. Understand body language of people you want to connect with to know when to withdraw.

Tip 4: Practice (even if it’s difficult)

Just start, you can start from your workplace if you’re currently employed, or with people who are in the same professional level as you. From there, you can move up a little bit and gradually, you’d get used to it.

Tip 5: Be consistent

Starting is one thing, being consistent is another. Do it regularly and be willing to get out from your comfort zone. Follow up when you connect with someone newly, and reach out often in the best way, such as sharing useful information, comments etc. This is how you keep the relationship alive.

What are the best channels to network?

There are several easy and free channels you can use to network both online and offline. Here are our top picks:

LinkedIn: This is top on our list because it is a powerful tool to grow your network and meet new people online and from the comfort of your home. LinkedIn has about 810 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide. It has given a lot of people access to networking opportunities by connecting with people with whom they may have never had the chance to do so.

To use LinkedIn effectively as a networking tool, you have to do the following:

  • Optimize your profile. Most people check out your profile before accepting your connection request. You will have to give the first impression by ensuring you have the basics covered: professional photo, customized headline, detailed about session, and up-to-date experiences and education.
  • Send connection request. Start with people you know or have met in a meeting or virtual event. Add personalized notes stating how you met them and why you want to connect. Then send requests to people on your professional level, before stepping up to senior and more experienced people.
  • Create content and engage with posts. The more you create and engage on LinkedIn, the more of a thought leader you become. Your profile will be more visible, and you may catch the interest of a recruiter.
  • Share projects and achievements no matter how little it may be. Share your challenges, how you overcame them, and your wins.

Communities and groups. When you join communities in your industry, chances are you’re closer to top industry experts, recruiters and company CEOs. Search for online or offline communities, become a member and be active. Make contributions, ask questions, offer help in any way you can so that you can stay noticeable. It is easier to reach out to anybody you want when you’re active than when you’re a passive member.

Attend conferences and seminars. Whether online or offline, seminars are a good place to network. While some organizers may include a special session for networking, others don’t, however, this should not stop you from putting yourself out there to connect with people. If you’re worried about what to say, you can start by introducing yourself, giving a compliment or initiate a short conversation about the general theme of the seminar or conference.

Leverage other social media channels. LinkedIn is not the only social media platform you can network with. Others like Twitter, Quora, and Facebook can serve as they also have professional individuals on them.

Who do you need to connect with?

Are you wondering who to connect with that will help you find a job? Here are our top recommendations:

  • Thought leaders in your industry
  • Recruiters
  • Your target company CEOs and employees
  • Past and present co-workers, supervisors, and managers
  • Business associates
  • Alumni of your undergraduate or graduate alma mater
  • People you meet at events
  • People from an online community you are a part of
  • Past or present teachers
  • Anyone you think may have a productive impact on your career

How to keep a network relationship going after the first network encounter

Think about five people that you know but do not know well, they may have been colleagues, or you may have met them in a bus, or at an event. You do not know these people very well, because you were not intentional about knowing it. Maybe you started putting in the work and 3 out of these 5 persons are now your top friends.

That’s the same way it is with keeping a network relationship going after the first meet, you simply just have to be intentional.

When you connect with someone, the relationship may not be expected to be transactional, you need to offer value. You can start with follow up questions, thoughts, help, and anything that can be useful to them.

It’s simply the exact same way you do it in your personal life, except that in this case, you have to remain professional.

You should not message or call them every day, that’s unnecessarily aggressive and may make people put you off.

What is the best way to connect and advertise yourself to recruiters?

Most times, recruiters know what you’re after when you want to connect or send them a message and we think this may be tricky.

If you’re using LinkedIn to make this connection, advertise yourself by having a robust profile that has recommendations and endorsements.

If you don’t have these, you can simply reach out to people you’ve worked with in the past, tell them you’re powering up your profile and would be needing help. Ask them to use keywords that those recruiters would want to hear or see.

We think you can put the “open to work” tag around your headshot on your profile, but some recruiters may think that you’re passive.

However, it is not totally a bad idea still and may be helpful in some situations. Research from LinkedIn showed that people who put this tag ended up getting 40% messaged by recruiters. Some recruiters also said that it has helped them a lot in easily identifying people who are currently job seeking.

 What you can also do is demonstrate how you’ve been contributive in the past with your content.

Final thoughts

Having a career network is important if you’re planning on getting a job or advancing in your career. While it’s important to keep up with the latest trends in the field of work as a job seeker, networking should also be part of your priorities.