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Make Your Networking Efforts Pay Off
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The digital world has made great influences on the real world including job searching. Social media has transformed the way business is done and how we connect with people anywhere and everywhere.

A successful job search is usually achieved with a go-getter attitude. With a job market undergoing major transformations due to changes in industry demand. The workforce is shifting and it's always in your favor to have others on your side to help you navigate it.

Making professional connections is vital to advancing your career. Networking is an integral part of how job seekers and hiring managers connect and make employment opportunities happen.

Find out who you can make the most of your social networks and the advantages they will bring to your job search:

1) Connect first, apply later.

Figure out where you want to take your career and a plan of action for getting there. The point of networking is to gain recognition in a particular field or industry. If you start applying to places before making connections within that arena, hiring managers could pass you up for someone that was referred to them by another connection. Plus, you'll also gain some valuable insight from people currently working in it.

2) Investigate potential connections.

It might be tempting to jump in head first into the social networking pool, but remember that these are supposed to be professional contacts, not a popularity contest. Before sending out emails or sending out add requests to everyone related to your desired industry, do some research into who these people are. You want each of your connections to be intentional.

3) Help them help you.

Your chances for getting the help you're looking for will be slim if there is even the slightest hassle for the person you are trying to connect with. When asking favors of people you don't know, chances of them doing it are higher when it's simplified. Make specific requests and tell them exactly what you are hoping they can help you with. Let them see the job description and a short background into your experience and skills.

4) Make yourself accessible.

This is pretty straightforward. Keeping the lines of communication open both ways allows people to get back to you easier. If the person you're asking help from doesn't have the answer but knows someone who does, they can forward you to that person without having to jump through hoops. You'll also have the best chances for not missing out on employment and networking opportunities.

5) Don't overdo it.

You'll want to ease into sending out inquiries so as not to overwhelm the network. Make sure that what you send one person is meant only for them. Sending out mass emails doesn't equate to networking.

6) Have patience.

People have other obligations that can be time consuming so they may not be able to immediately respond to you. Give it some time, a few days to a week, and then follow up. It might also take some time to get any successful matches but establishing that connection will give you an advantage in being considered for positions not yet made public.

7) Don't burn your bridges.

Even though correspondence is digital, you want to extend the same manners and politeness as you would in a face-to-face meeting. People can feel taken advantage of easily over the internet if you don't take the time to acknowlege their help. Let your contacts know that you appreciate them, even if they weren't able to really help your search. A little consideration can make your career go a long way.