Professional Networking - A Job Search Must

By: AJE Recruiting Specialist

Professional Networking - A Job Search Must

Networking has always been one of the most effective ways of securing a job. Today, professional networking is more critical than ever. With an over-saturated job seeker market, standing out means you need to get out of your house - or cube - and connect with people face-to-face to secure that job. If you are currently looking for a job, here are some good networking skills you should cultivate. These are also good skills to acquire to ensure future career success.

Networking to find a job can encompass two forms - formal and informal. For those who are shy, formal networking is probably the more intimidating of the two. This type of networking means involvement in industry events and gatherings. This may seem daunting, but with some planning can be less stressful - and will certainly prove useful. For example, if you are looking to secure a job in education, you may want to become a member of educational associations. Attend meetings and social events hosted by these groups so that you can connect with people in your field, share stories and uncover job leads.

Keep in touch with former colleagues at all times. Your career network is one of the best ways to find a job. Make the people in your network aware of your job search goals, but also keep in contact with them on a regular basis - sharing industry information or any other relevant news.

You can also find additional networking contacts through various other affiliations such as your alumni association, local volunteering groups and businesses conferences. These are all prime locations to reach out to professionals in your field.

Another good approach is to connect with your network online. Join networking forums like LinkedIn. These online networks are useful in tapping into topics of interest, and also companies. It is not out of the question to contact someone that you do not know through a professional networking site and ask for advice or assistance. If you do, be as specific as possible in your request.

Informal networking is something that you are doing every day without realizing it. These are the associations you develop with family, friends and neighbors, and at dinner and cocktail parties you attend each week. These relationships can be useful if you are looking for a job. It's not inappropriate to tell as many people as possible about your job search goals. In some cases, you will get a tip about a job opening or connect with someone that may be able to lend a hand. Get in touch with former colleagues or classmates and ask them if they are aware of any job openings, or can connect you with people at companies that are of interest.

Striking up conversations with people in your daily life can bear fruit when it comes to your job search. It is quite acceptable to mention that you are looking for a job during casual conversations.

When all is said and done, people within your network should be dealt with courteously, even after you've found a job. Send thank you notes to those that provide assistance. Offer your personal help when people in your network reach out to you. Cultivate a helpful reputation that will assist you in finding a job now as well as for future career success.

For more career advice, visit America's Job Exchange for job listings, resume writing and interview tips, salary information and more.