Networking for Job Seekers

Networking for Job Seekers defines networking as:

“The act of making contact and exchanging information with other people, groups and institutions to develop mutually beneficial relationships.”

Networking can have a huge role to play in securing a new job.

If you have a business card in your current role, ensure you take a supply with you when you are likely to meet people from other companies.

Get into the habit of attending conferences, seminars and external training sessions that are relevant to your role. Before or after the event, or during a break, get talking to fellow attendees, after all you work in the same industry or profession, so you have something in common as a way of starting a conversation. Just by speaking to people, you can demonstrate that you are friendly and professional, and that you have a good knowledge of current issues in your business sector.

Always offer a handshake to people you meet, and practise your handshake in advance of meetings.

You should prepare in advance what is known in business speak as an ‘elevator pitch’ – how you can sum up who you are, where you work, what you do and what your goals are, all in no more than 90 seconds.

Try and obtain a business card from people you meet, as well as giving out your own. Whether you get a card or not, send the person a message the next day along the lines of ‘it was lovely to meet you at yesterday’s event’. If you didn’t get their email address, try and find them on LinkedIn.

Ensure you make full use of the opportunities offered by LinkedIn and other professional networking sites. These sites allow you to stay in touch with former colleagues, who may be able to offer you a role, either at their new organisation, or by offering you the chance to return to your previous employer in a different role. You can also use these sites to try and establish a network of connections with people from your business sector who you do not yet know – some people will automatically decline connection requests from people they do not know, but some will accept.

Remember also that networking can have a role to play if you are seeking a promotion or another internal move. Try getting involved in any non-work events your employer runs, such as sports teams, charitable activities or volunteering opportunities. Office social events also provide an opportunity to talk to senior management and colleagues from other departments, and demonstrate that you have a friendly and professional manner.

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