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The 4 Areas You Need In Order to Master Networking
Thursday, January 03, 2013

Think about some of the best places you've been to and things that you did. How many of them were because of a friend's recommendation? We value opinions from trusted sources and will more than likely share the same sentiments about something even if we have yet to form a first-hand opinion.

This same kind of power can be seen in the job search process. Hiring managers prefer to hire people through a network because they want candidates who have been brought to them by a connection. When you meet a hiring manager through one of their connections, they will be more open to you because you've made your way into their circle.

Personal networking is by far the most effective way of getting a job as opposed to keeping your efforts entirely online. The internet is a great tool for helping you but shouldn't be your primary means of networking.

The reasons that networking is so effective are numerous. Aside from its benefits of being able to meet more people, and essentially the right ones for your career, it also serves as a screening process. Networking directs people in the right career direction rather everyone scrambling about trying to find out who they should be talking to.

What often happens throughout your experience is that hiring mangagers will come across someone they think has what it takes to fill the position, decide to hire them, and worry about all the technical stuff later. What's most important to any hiring manager is that the person will fit in and thrive. Anyone can maninpulate words on paper to seem perfect for the job, but you can't pull tricks in person that a hiring manager hasn't seen.

Start with these 4 resources in open the doors to your networks...
  • Staffing companies: There are companies out there with the mission to get you employed. Although these jobs are usually temporary, it's a great way to get your foot in the door at any company. Companies like hiring short-term employees because they don't have to worry about committing to keeping an employee after his term is over if they don't see him fit. Companies like to make smart investments and being able to "try before you buy" helps them do that.
  • Friends: Your friends probably work in a variety of different fields and will be able to expose you to cirlces of people you would not have otherwise connected with. Whether your friend is just the first link in a chain that will ultimately connect you to the person you want to reach out to or they simply work in the same building as that person, your friend is that one step closer that you have to getting there.
  • Social media: This is one of the easiest ways to connect with people because its another way to access them directly without being too invasive. The thing to remember about linking up with people over the internet is that you still need to abide by the same etiquette rules as you would in-person. For example, messaging people whom you've never met before is only allowable when that person is a hiring manager. Otherwise, if you're reaching out to people who you notice just work there you might creep some people out.
  • Internal advancement: Most companies actually prefer to promote from within because they've already established a long-term relationship with the employee. Even with the right qualifications, an outsider may be passed over for someone who's been with the company longer and has demonstrated an ability to learn and grow.
Building this gold mine network is easier than it used to be. Knowing where to look and who to turn is key to making your efforts worth while though. Your friends and social media sites are a good place to start, but unless you branch out from there you won't reach the right people. Try to get creative with your approach in networking as it will produce different kinds of results, many of them desirable. Once you figure out where you want to end up, the fun is in strategizing the ways that you'll get there.