-This is a guest post from Brent Jones at JobGettingTips.com.

 

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

You’ve heard that before, I am sure.

I was asked recently on a job forum for my opinion on various job search apps – to which I responded in bewilderment, “Those exist?”

Even if you don’t consider yourself a people person, your odds are always better of advancing through the application process if you have a chance to meet your prospective employer in person. If you are looking for work, I suggest applying for jobs in the follow ways, listed in order from best-to-worst:

  1. In person
  2. By phone
  3. Through email / fax
  4. Complete online application
  5. Everything else…

 

This article is about focusing on #1 and #2in person and by phone. I have seldom been unemployed for more than a few days at a time. Why? Because it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This article is all about networking.

How would it feel if you knew you could stop by in person or simply pick up the phone and have a job ready and waiting for you? You can! It’s the power of networking. Why would a recruiter choose to sift through hundreds if not thousands of resumes when he or she could simply pick up the phone and give you a call?

I have prepared 10 simple ways that you can begin networking now – whether you are looking for work or currently employed:

  • Attend a local Chamber of Commerce meeting.
  • These meetings are free and generally happen in most cities every month or so. Attend a couple of these, mingle, get to know other people in your industry, and make some friends – these can be great long-term contacts!
  • Spend time with some of your co-workers outside of work.
  • You can have outings with work friends that do not have to be exclusively from your place of employment. While in a sales position, I went out with a co-worker who also invited out a few of his friends who work with his previously employer. One of them happened to be a hiring manager. I made friends with all of these people and consequently made some new contacts.
  • Join a local job search or career advice forum online.
  • Even if you aren’t looking for work, you can read posts pertaining to your industry and learn who is hiring. You can also make some local contacts in your industry by making some posts of your own.
  • Stay in touch with your past references.
  • Don’t just call them when you need a reference – call just to say hello! Talk about work. How is their business going? What news have they heard locally in your industry? Who is hiring? Find out.
  • Follow companies in your industry on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • You can meet new people who are associated with these companies, learn when they are hiring, and collect other industry-relevant news. You can also tweet and leave comments occasionally to keep your name in front of these companies. Who knows who you may connect with?
  • Create a profile on LinkedIn and Monster.
  • Both of these tools keep your name in front of industry contacts, even if you are currently working. A lot of hiring managers (and headhunters) will just go to LinkedIn or Monster to search for potential new-hires instead of going through the hassle of creating a job posting. If you are contacted, made note of by whom and from where!
  • Do you have a professional designation?
  • If so, you may be able to join an association for professionals in your field, or attend events hosted by such an association.
  • Attend career fairs.
  • This is a great place to find out who is hiring, pick up business cards, and meet others in your industry. You can always meet hiring managers at these events, but you can also meet other job-seekers who may have some good advice for you.
  • Keep an eye on classified ads in your area.
  • It’s always nice to keep note of hiring trends, who is hiring, etc. This isn’t exactly networking, but it can be valuable information when talking to others. “I saw that xx company is hiring. What do you know about them?”
  • Upgrade your skills by taking a course.
  • If you upgrade your skills by taking a night class relevant to your industry, you are likely to meet other people in your industry there. These may not be hiring managers, but they are a fresh contact nonetheless.

 

Statistics say that the average American knows 2000+ people by name or face on a personal basis. I would be inclined to believe it’s even more than that. There is no such thing as a wasted contact. Get to know as many people in your industry as possible. You never know when that contact will open a door for you one day down the road, or vice versa.

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This article was written by Brent Jones, founder of JobGettingTips.com. Brent lives in Toronto, Canada and has years of recruiting experience.


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