Many are skeptical about the job opportunities in today's economy, but they are out there if you know where to look.  A lot of times the best bet for finding these opportunities is not through online job boards, the classifieds, or employment agencies — it’s by talking to the people around you. A strong network of friends, family members, colleagues and acquaintances is the most valuable job search tool you have.

Networking may sound intimidating or difficult  when you try to find a job by asking for help, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be rewarding, fun, and easier than you think; even if you’re shy or you feel like you don’t know many people.

Building Relationships:

A large portion of job openings are filled by word of mouth and never advertised. That’s why networking is a great way to find a job. Many job seekers are hesitant to take advantage of networking because they’re afraid of being seen as pushy, annoying, or self-serving. Networking isn’t about using other people or aggressively promoting yourself—it’s about building relationships. 

Your Network:

Networking is simply getting to know people. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already networking every day and everywhere you go.

You are networking when you strike up a conversation with the person next to you in line; introduce yourself to other parents at your child’s school; meet a friend of a friend; catch up with a former co-worker; or stop to chat with your neighbor. Everyone you meet can help you move your career and/or job search forward.  

Utilizing this hidden job market may take more planning and nerve than searching online, but it’s much more effective. Adopt a networking lifestyle, a lifestyle of connecting and helping others in good times and bad.  This lifestyle will help you find the right job; make valuable connections in your chosen field; and stay focused and motivated during your job search.

Networking works because:

  • Resumes and cover letters alone are often too impersonal to convince employers to hire you - people primarily do business with people they know and like.
  • Networking makes you a recommended member of a much smaller pool rather than joining a pile of applicants from job listings - that place you in intense competition with many others.
  • Networking leads to information and job leads, often before a formal job description is created or a job announced - the job you want may not be advertised at all.

Keys to networking successfully: