The Time to Start Networking
is When You Already Have a Job
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
That's why networking
should be your number one job-search strategy.
But, even if you
have a job, 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
Here are five
easy ways to jumpstart your networking efforts:
1. 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.
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
3. 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.
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."
5. Look for
ways to keep in touch and to build a positive impression with people
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.