Make Your Professional Network Work for You

GU_who_you_knowBecause the job market is so competitive, it’s not always about what you know, but rather who you know. Tap your resources, build a professional network and use your connections to accelerate your job search. You never know who could be the key to your success.

It’s Who You Know

Having professional connections is essential to succeeding in your chosen industry. No matter how much education or experience you have, sometimes it comes down to the people in your network and word-of-mouth referrals.

“Since studies show that most jobs are not posted, the way to find out about those job leads is through your professional network,” says Jenny Schroth, director of career services for Globe University. “Be sure to network both in and outside of your field of study,” Schroth says. “You never know who may know someone else who can help you get a job.”

Schroth points out that even though your neighbor might be in construction, his cousin might work in vet tech management and know of an open position. It’s important to make connections with everyone so that you don’t miss out on opportunities.

Build Your Network

Schroth says attending networking events, using social media sites like LinkedIn and joining professional associations are all good ways to meet influential people.

“Make a list of the top ten places you would like to work and make connections with people at those places,” she says. “Search for them on LinkedIn, or make cold calls and ask to speak to the person who does the hiring. Schedule a tour and some time with them to ask questions and get some advice about how to be successful in the field.”

Whether in person, over email, the phone or LinkedIn, it might be hard to approach someone in the field about possible job opportunities. Schroth says you should first establish your network by asking professionals if they are willing to meet with you for informational interviews.

“Never ask for a job up front,” Schroth says. “Build rapport by asking them how they got started in the field and their career path. People love talking about themselves, so most will be happy to sit down with you and let you pick their brain.”

Maintain Contact

In order to use your network to your advantage so that it eventually leads to job, Schroth stresses the importance of not only building but maintaining professional relationships.

“It’s important to stay in touch with your connections,” says Schroth. “You have to take the initiative to follow up with them about once a month. Send them an article you think they might be interested in or update them on your job search activities. Networking is a two-way street; find ways to help them, too.”

By meeting the right people, forming relationships and staying in touch, you will be well on your way to building a professional network, which will help with every aspect of your career, including your job search. To learn more about Globe University and career support services visit www.globeuniversity.edu/about-us/career-services.