The Art of the Job Search – Digital and In-Person Networking

This week, we begin a new series entitled “The Art of the Job Search.” Each week, we will discuss topics job seekers face in their job hunt, and will provide some useful information for employers looking for their next hire as well. Our first installment in this new series will focus on networking – both digitally and in person.

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As you begin or continue your job search, you may be spending your time searching and applying for jobs that match your experience and ideal career goals. While these are important steps in any job search, building relationships with people in your preferred industries is also important. According to a report by U.S. News & World Report,* some statistics show as much as 80% of new hires were based off referrals within the company. In this digital era, job seekers and recruiters alike must capitalize on
both in-person and online networking opportunities to build those relationships.

These days, digital channels are great ways to reach new industry contacts and obtain networking advice before you meet face-to-face. With social media sites as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you have the ability to search for hiring managers in companies you’re interested in and what events offer the opportunity to meet them.

Some quick tips for digital networking include:

  • Search for hiring managers and other key staff at a company’s social pages including their own website. Connect with hiring managers on as many channels as possible to build that relationship.
  • Be sure your resume includes any professional networking links, including LinkedIn and your professional blog if you have one.
  • Likewise, be sure to hyperlink your resume to your social networking sites. If you are not currently employed, let people know you’re looking through posts including your resume.
  • Complete all stages of each social media profile. For example, completed LinkedIn profiles appear higher in search engine results. These searches are another way hiring managers research a potential employee before meeting with them.
  • Join the conversation for your desired industries on Twitter’s industry chats and LinkedIn Groups. You not only stay on top of the latest industry news, but you will receive priceless tips from people working in your field. Your contributions to the group may be noticed by a hiring manager ready to meet you!

One of the goals of digital networking efforts is to land the face-to-face meeting with the industry contact. Some of the places to network include job fairs, Chamber of Commerce meetings, and industry events. Some great sites exist that may help you find industry events in your area, including Facebook, LinkedIn Groups, Eventful and MeetUp.

After you network in-person, it is best to always be the person who follows up. Never assume a contact will reach out to you. Instead, be proactive and ask for a business card or contact information, as well the method they prefer to stay in touch. After the meeting, be sure to send a follow up email or make a call to keep the communication flowing. Your contact may have spoken to a great many people at a single event, and this is a great way for your discussion to stay fresh in their memory.

As you control your digital presence and utilize more networking tools online, you will be set above the crowd, helping you land the coveted face-to-face meeting sooner!

* U.S. News & World Report, “Tips to Succeed With In-Person Networking,” January 2013

Photo credit: evenbrite.com

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