How many times have you heard, “Networking is going to be the key to your career success”? Well, for most this rings true. It is conservatively estimated 80 to 85 percent of all jobs come from networking.
Networking is all about relationship-building, and it is the main source of information, job leads, and interview opportunities. You should ensure everyone you know — friends, family, professional colleagues, and casual acquaintances — is aware you are transitioning and has an idea of what you might be interested in.
Don’t stop there. It is critical you grow and expand your network, especially when you are trying to get your foot in the door at a company or organization where you don’t have any established contacts. Here are a few tips to help find those connections and help you land that dream career opportunity:
- Follow the organization on social media. Most major organizations will have a strong digital presence. After joining the group, take it one step further by making a thoughtful comment or sharing their posts. You never know who in the company might be monitoring and take notice.
- Reach out to recruiters and talent acquisition specialists in the company. Don’t rely on just one, rather engage with as many as possible — each might have a special niche or location they are working. Once connected, remember to periodically follow up.
- Who else do you at your target company? Use the LinkedIn search features. Even though you might not have a relationship with them, you may still have a mutual connection. Reach out to see if they could make an introduction. Once connected, indicate your interest, ask good questions, and forge a relationship that could potentially lead to a referral request.
- Go to where they are. Do your research: Will they be at a career fair? Trade show? Speaking at a conference? Then, show up. Just remember to have a thoughtful introduction and be prepared to use your 30-second elevator pitch if the opportunity presents itself.
[RELATED: Elevator Speeches – Do You Really Need One?]
- Be bold. Don’t be overly aggressive or desperate, but if you have an opening or find the right moment, reach out to the hiring manager directly. Most hiring managers keep their eyes open for talent. Remember, they have knowledge about the future of their organization and their people (who is going to be retiring, who might be promoted, how they plan to re-organize, what contracts need to be filled, etcetera). You never know when you are the right person with the right skills at the right time.
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Bottom line: Take every opportunity to make new connections, build credibility, and show you are invested in the brand and committed to them as a possible company of your dreams.