Did you know that 75% of hires in the United States are made by referrals? This means somebody you know knows somebody who is involved in the hiring process or can at least get your resume to the right person. The question is then, how many people do you know? Hiring managers and recruiters hire new employees from referrals because they are coming recommended. They trust the word of their current employee that who they are referring is a hard worker and become an asset to the company.
Chances are you could use a bit of network strengthening as we all could because if you are only applying to jobs online there is only a 25% percent chance of getting the job. Lets put it differently, if there was only a 25% chance that your car would work, would you still drive it or find a different mode of transportation? So why are you putting all your eggs in one basket and only applying to jobs online?
We are not advocating to stop applying to jobs online, but simply expand the breadth in which other mediums are being applied for your job searching efforts. It comes down to networking and it is by far the biggest tool you have in your job searching arsenal. Most people do not focus on it though because it is hard. It is hard to get up and go talk to a stranger or ask your friends who they may know, but with practice, it will become easier.
There are a variety of methods you can use:
Friends and Family:
- This might be the easiest to get started. Do not be afraid to you use your friends and family as network resources. You must be clear and concise when telling them what you are looking for and provide them with a digital and printed copy of your resume.
- For just about any occupation, there will be a local networking group. For example, in the New York City area, there is a group called Whine and Dine that is dedicated only to HR professionals. They meet just about every month and only from the HR profession is invited to network and discuss current HR hot topics. You can find groups like this on LinkedIn. You must become active your professions community to find the various relevant groups. A quick Google search will bring hundreds in your area. (business networking groups, [your area]). Another resource you can use is your local chamber of commerce. Depending on the type of group, they might have to register with your city hall.
Alumni Networking :
- If you graduated college or are in the process, your college will have a career services department. With a visit or a phone call, they will be able to point you in the right direction for accessing the alumni network. This will be a directory of everyone who ever graduated from the school and their current title/occupation. Dive in and find the relevant alumni and reach out to them with a phone call or personalized email.
Community Service Clubs :
- Think of community service clubs as volunteer clubs. While there may not be any direct networking events, any time you speak to someone you are networking. Examples of these clubs are the Kiwanis Club, Rotary, Lions Club, VFW, Boy/Girl Scouts and the YMCA. Almost all of these clubs have times dedicated for the members to meet each other and expand their networks. Go get active in your community and meet new people and at the same time give back.
Professional Associations :
- Professional Associations have been around for a long time and are formed for each specific industry and occupation. Wikipedia describes a professional association as, “The roles of these professional associations have been variously defined: “A group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation.” Many people join these associations for their regular updates as it directly relates to their job; it is the current news for them specifically. For example, a lawyer would want to join the American Bar Association because it will keep him/her in the loop on new cases which form the new laws of the land. Below are some examples of other professional associations.
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- American Trucking Associations
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Society of Personnel Administrators
- Society of Human Resources Management
- Association for Information Technology Professionals
- American Medical Association
Women’s Business Organizations :
- Still prevalent in today’s society are the “old boys club”. You can find them in many accounting firms, finance brokerages and banking. Women’s business organizations however, have changed the landscape for women starting in the 90’s and growing ever since. While still difficult to crack the “old boys club” there are many fast growing women’s business groups that are spurting up all over the country. They provide professional and personal support to the working mother and single woman. Just with everything else mentioned above, it will take some searching to find these. A quick search on the internet should yield a few in your area that you can connect with. And yes, even if you are man, you can join, but you must conduct yourself professionally and be an asset to the group.
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