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Building a Network

As established in my earlier blog, if you want a job you need a network. Networks account for the vast majority of new hires every year. Your greatest chance at successfully getting a new job is through a network.

Great, so how do you get one of those network things?

A network consists of everyone you know and have a relationship with. So, if your only acquaintance in the world is thorshammer1701, and that world happens to be World of Warcraft, then your job hunt may be a bit tricky.

But, if you went to school and received a degree, that’s a good place to start. Your former classmates are in the same field as you are which puts them in the best position to recommend you for jobs. Even if you’re just out of school, many of those schoolmates had internships that led to full-time positions and possibly know of other opportunities within their companies. If not, perhaps they’re being headhunted and can pass your name along to the hunter. They may have passed on another job recently that you can take advantage of instead.

If you’re looking to switch careers, then your school network might not be as helpful. You’ll have to start building relationships with the myriad of people you meet in your everyday life. Start by throwing your hand out to people and introducing yourself. Hand out business cards and collect them as well. Contact these people to follow up on your conversations and keep contacting them every few weeks. Let them know you are in the market for a new job, but don’t ask them specifically if they know of openings. All you need to do is plant the seed in their head that you’re out there. You’ll also want to keep these contacts fresh, nothing annoys a person more than not hearing from a friend for two years and then only when they need something.

The best time to build a network is before you’re looking for a job. You’ll want it in place for when you do start the hunt, that way it’ll be so much easier for you when you do. Also, even after you land that new job continue to keep the network active. You never know when you may need it again.

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