If you’re hot on the trail for a job but the positions you’ve applied for have been leaving you on the down, it’s time to strategize.
Ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? When it comes to today’s competitive job market, this statement usually rings quite true. While living in a world in which you are fairly judged based on your qualifications sounds pretty sweet, many successful people have gotten to where they want to be in their careers because of the connections they’ve kindled over the years.
Building your network is a vital skill that can reward you tenfold in almost every industry you aspire to be in. It’s also easier then one might think to get started in with networking.
So get ready to say goodbye to any more of those pesky application rejections, with these six simple networking tips to start professionally promoting yourself in your industry and get your heels in the door.
1. GET YOURSELF ON LINKEDIN
It’s social media for professionals! LinkedIn is a fun and important resource that could be the key to getting you employed. Add a professional photo to your profile, spend some time to input your impressive work history and show off your personality! The website/app is a great way to find people you know along with searching for the key players in your desired industry to start contacting. Also, direct messaging someone on LinkedIn is starting to become the most polite and effective way to build your network and learn about the job openings you’re not finding on posting sites.
2. FOLLOW THOSE WITH THE JOB YOU WANT
Everything’s impossible until it’s done, right? However, chances are your career aspirations have already been achieved by someone else in some capacity. Following the career of someone in your industry who has reached some of the goals you are working towards is a good way to gain some insight about what it takes to get there. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and see if they are willing to talk about their story with you. They might be more than willing or offer a tiny piece of advice that could point you in the right direction. Try LinkedIn, Twitter or email first to find these business people and start up a conversation.
3. MAKE YOUR OWN BUSINESS CARDS
While it’s common practice to receive business cards from your employer after obtaining your desired position, it’s also a really good networking tool to have with you. Online websites such as Moo allows you to be creative and make cards to hand out that will get your contacts calling you back and they are quite affordable too! Just store a few in your wallet and strike up the occasional conversation while waiting in line for coffee for example and you’ll always be ready to impress!
4. PRACTICE AN ELEVATOR PITCH
When it comes to finding yourself a new gig, it’s all about selling yourself. So take some time to plan out your goals, key skills, and uniqueness on paper and try to get it down to what would take a 20 to 30-second ride on an elevator. This long-taught communication skill is really beneficial for any professional to practice when out on the job market. It will get you ready for random run-ins with the person with the right connection and the often short nature of interviews. Just identify your current goal, what you do, what you have done and where you plan to go concisely.
5. JOIN A NETWORKING GROUP
A large part of networking is just getting out there and talking to successful people who might be able to offer you an in and there’s no better way to do that than getting yourself in a room with people who all have the same goal in mind. Many female professionals are banding together and creating professional groups to do just that. Quilt, for example, is a team of women in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York who aim to come together and connect with others about opportunities along with having conversations about gender dynamics in the workplace. Alternatively, make a Facebook group with the professionals you know asking them to invite people they know and start your own. It could lead to something unexpected.
6. KEEP PROMOTING YOURSELF
Start with your current social circle to implement these tips and then from there it will grow into them raving about you to someone they know who has the in you need. Putting yourself out there and just constantly talking about your goals will get the people around you to remember them and start spreading it outward. Don’t be afraid to share your achievements, experiences and hopes and dreams. You can confidently speak it into existence!