Lacking the right contacts and networking skills can turn any job hunt into a real nightmare. Even the most accomplished professionals still rely on referrals. Building and maintaining a professional social network makes it easier to identify and capitalize on future opportunities, generate more referrals and to ensure superior career growth in the days ahead.
While volume and exposure are important, concentrating on quantity at the expense of the quality of your new contact would be a mistake. A scattershot approach to networking could find you doing little more than spinning your wheels. Having a plan makes it easier for you to focus your efforts where they will do the most good
When it comes to effective networking, every exchange is an opportunity to practice your pitch. Pursuing short-term gig work, registering with temp agencies, or scheduling a meeting with a headhunter or recruiter can provide you with valuable opportunities to practice your skills and to expand your existing network. A polished networking skill set and the extra confidence that only practice and repetition can provide are often key assets on the job hunt.
Relying on a single exchange in order to make a lasting impression is rarely the most effective approach. Even the best conversation or introduction can quickly be forgotten. Following up on every interview, lead and introduction helps to ensure that your name will be remembered. Failing to take that extra step by sending a simple follow-up note or email could be costing you more referrals than you might expect.
Contacts tend to drift apart over time. Professionals who fail to maintain their existing network often find that it has become inefficient and unreliable as a result of their neglect. When it comes to networking for referrals, existing contacts may prove to be just as valuable as new ones. Investing a little time and effort to maintain your existing network is always well worth it.
A robust pool of professional contacts can make obtaining a referral, finding a new lead or landing the perfect job a much easier undertaking. Planning your strategy, perfecting your pitch and following up after an introduction or interview help to ensure that your efforts will be met with greater success. Possessing the best network as well as the right networking skills can go a long way towards ensuring shorter job hunt and greater career success.