The number of U.S. residents seeking unemployment benefits rose in the last week of September to a seasonally adjusted 367,000. This means that plenty of American workers are still searching for jobs. It means, too, that you’ll need to brush up on your networking skills if you hope to make a professional job change.
Simply put, the high number of unemployed workers has made it increasingly unlikely to find a job through print or online job boards. That’s because companies are instantly overwhelmed with resumes and applications every time they post a job listing. The odds are small that company officials will even open your application.
Networking skills, though, can help you find those jobs that aren’t advertised widely. And these skills could help you cut your job search short.
Who to Network With
The good news is that networking skills aren’t difficult to learn. The first step is to identify those people in your network of contacts who can help you find a job.
Some of the obvious choices include former bosses and co-workers, professors from your college days, and local business owners and leaders, including board members with your local chamber of commerce or business philanthropy organization.
But there are other less obvious choices, too. Your neighbor might be the brother-in-law of a recruiter. Your cousin might know of a friend who is starting her own company. These folks, too, can help you find a hot job lead.
The message here? Almost anyone you know might hold the key to your future job opportunities.
How to Network
Once you know who to network with, it’s time to study how to network effectively. The key is to talk with enough people to increase your exposure to possible job leads.
For instance, you might schedule a lunch meeting with a former boss. During your meeting, you might discover that your boss knows of a colleague who is starting her own accounting firm. Your boss might then be willing to introduce you to this colleague.
Maybe you’ll post a quick message on LinkedIn alerting your followers that you are now looking for work. You might be surprised at how quickly hot job leads come back.
Maybe your sister-in-law is neighbors with an executive in your industry. She might be willing to pass your resume on to this neighbor.
Get Out There
The key, then, is to get out there and communicate with the people you know. The more people with which you talk about your job status, the more likely you are to find a new job lead.
If you need help with the ins and outs of networking skills, consider signing up for our Get Hired Boot Camp. Our career counselors can help you land a new job today.