Perhaps one of the most important strategies used when looking for a job has to do with networking. Leveraging this approach helps to greatly expand beyond the reach of a resume into a social network of people that may be able to help find a job.
There is a common phrase "six degrees of separation," which is a concept that's based on an actual research experiment. The findings of that study indicated that, on average, each person in the world is separated by only six other persons.
Social networks are clearly of value in today's society. These everyday interactions with people may be the single most important resource available to anyone looking for a job. Findings have shown that over 60% of individuals found their new jobs via networking.
The best way to create a social job network is to do it informally. Here are some examples of very informal job networking opportunities:
Think about all of the different interactions that occur with people every day. Those are the real informal job networking opportunities. By taking the initiative to introduce yourself or talk to others when the opportunity arises, the power of the social network grows, and so does its value.
While the above examples are great ways to meet new people, and can be done anywhere and at any time, it's also important to take a targeted approach to job networking too. These are opportunities that arise when attending a trade show or a conference. Regardless of the profession, there is almost always a forum that's been created for the sharing of best practices; even among competitors.
The Internet is a great place to find out where other people in certain professions are hanging out. There are newsgroups and discussion boards where ideas are shared all the time. Keep in mind the more effort put into this process, the more value it provides.
Don't mistake job networking with approaches such as sending letters to strangers. Don't insult the intelligence of others by introducing yourself this way. It is not appreciated, and does more harm than good.
Another mistake that people make is to think that networking is a one way street. The most effective form of networking is one of Quid Pro Quo (this for that). The more someone puts into their social network, the more they will get out of it. If you are looking for favors from others, then be prepared to help others too.
We'd like to finish this topic by pointing out some valuable resources that anyone can use to help with their networking activities. Some of these resources can be found right on the Internet, while others are calendars of meetings where different professionals might gather:
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