Expand Your Network in 2015


business handshake on multicolor bokeh light background.The best way to land a job in 2015 is to expand your network. The art of building and maintaining relationships is vital to job seekers. Greg Simpson, Senior Vice President, Career Transition Practice Leader at Lee Hecht Harrison says “The reality is that most job openings are never advertised or posted, which means tapping your network is an essential job search resource to uncover hidden opportunities. In fact, 63 percent of job seekers land new jobs through networking.”

Identify networking contacts– One of the hurdles of networking is determining who to connect with. To aid in this process, make a list of 10-15 organizations you desire to work for. Next, consider how you might gain access to the person(s) in those organizations that have the power to hire you. You may be fortunate enough to be able to connect with the hiring manager immediately, but most likely, you will have to network to gain access.

Explore networking sources– Social networking sites have opened up the world of networking. LinkedIn has made it relatively easy to identify employees of organizations; however, don’t stop there. Explore other effective networking sources such as industry meetings, industry writers, community leaders, and career fairs. Other sources could be the vendors, customers, and competitors of your target organization.

One very important networking source is professional associations. When you join an association, you will have access to employees, managers and executives of many (if not all) of your target organizations. Here are 3 websites that may assist you in finding associations for your profession:– Weddles Guide for Associations,– The Center for Association Leadership, and– Internet public library’s guide to associations.

Develop goals for networking– The more you plan your networking, the more successful you will be. Val Matta, Vice President of business development at Career Shift, suggests developing weekly goals and tracking meetings/events on a calendar that is dedicated to networking. This method not only forces you to think through a plan, but also organizes your efforts.

Practice to gain confidence– Networking is a skill to be learned. Don’t expect perfection from yourself right away. The more you network, the more confidence you will gain and the better you will become.

I’m not sure who said this but the statement rings true; “The opposite of networking is NOT working”. Happy New Year and Happy Networking!

Stacy Harshman, founder of Your Fulfilling Life, brings her experience as a recruiter for a Fortune 500 corporation to her work as a career coach. In addition to helping people discover their passions, she also provides clients with insight into the mind of a recruiter, unlocking the secrets of what employers look for in potential employees. Stacy offers individual and group coaching in person and by phone to those seeking positive change in their professional lives.
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