Building and Using Connections in Your Job Search

Building and Using Connections in Your Job Search

by Chris Waters, Research Manager, Acclivity Healthcare

Networking is the best way to create a robust job search methodology. Networking simply means meeting people and forming relationships with them. The more people you know, the better chance you have of knowing someone with a contact or resource that will be of use to you- and the more helpful you are to the other people in your network- the more likely they are to want to help you in return. Here are a few simple tips on how to build and benefit from your social network.

Building Your Village

Take time to socialize.

Doing things that get you out and into contact with new people may seem like fun and games. But getting to know new people is the only way to expand your network. It may be who you know that counts, but it’s how many you know that gives you a chance to know someone important. If you’re shy, cut it out. Courage is key to success. Try to understand that the more risks you take, the more rewards you will enjoy. If you jump in, it won’t take long for the benefits to outweigh the costs- and you will soon learn that you’re not shy anymore.

Treat people like people, not walking opportunities:

Don’t use the people in your network. If you adopt a Machiavellian attitude, people will sense it- and they will lose interest in having you in their networks- fast.

Team up:

Be eager to form teams with people. Show them you have an active interest in helping them achieve their goals. That will get them interested in returning the favor- from there, working partnerships are just around the corner.

Expand your horizons:

Step outside of your comfort zone and get to know people that you normally might not. In so doing you can access the skills and resources of a broader range of people- and you might learn that there’s more to your own skill sets than you previously guessed.

Remember your business card:

Don’t let a new business acquaintance get away without your business card- otherwise, there’s a good chance they will forget you- or worse, that they will remember you and not know how to get in touch.

Making Use of Your Village in a Job Search

Ask for advice, not favors:

When you ask for advice, you’re complimenting the person you’re asking. This gives you the chance to boost their confidence while enhancing their outlook on you- this will make them more likely to help you in other ways down the line.

Schedule informational interviews:

Set up meetings with people in your network, stressing your interest in their professional knowledge. This stokes their ego, as above- and it sets up a purposeful atmosphere where productive things are bound to happen.

Ask for job referral:

This is much better than asking for jobs or a “foot in the door.” Getting a referral has a more professional tone to it, and it is a much better way to enter an office where you intend to apply than saying “I saw an ad in the paper.”

Return favors:

Let no favor go unreturned. It only takes one unreturned favor for a member of your social network to lose interest in you. Be proactive about returning favors too- don’t wait for them to ask you. This is one of the best ways to build a great reputation, and get people on your side.

Remember, your networks will only be as useful to you as you are to it. So seek to contribute to those who help you, and those whose help you want. Following these tips, over time, can even turn parts of your network into a fully functioning team.