You can find a new job if you spend 15 to 30 minutes per day actively reinforcing your personal brand and growing your network through some of the 25 easy activities listed below.
The concept is easy and simple and if you want to excel at networking, the key question you need to ask is not “What can you do for me?” but rather “What can I do for you?” There is more to networking than LinkedIn, so get started and try some or all of these ideas.
- Get an easy-to-remember email address. A good format is firstname.lastname@example.org where “mail” is Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc. Use this address for job search/work purposes only. Once done, create a proper e-mail signature – it really helps when you can provide your contacts with a proper email signature. Ensure to activate and test all links in your new email signature, such as your email, hyperlinks and social media such as LinkedIn.
- Personalise your LinkedIn ID. As with No. 1 try to create an easy to remember LinkedIn ID such as LinkedIn/firstname.lastname. This will help recruiters and hiring managers to find you and remember you faster.
- Choose your personal tagline. Find a 3-4 word phrase that relates to who you are professionally and puts you in a positive light. Use the same tagline in most of your profiles. You want people to think of that phrase when they hear your name, and everything you do work-wise should match your tagline.
- Create your own elevator pitch. In 30 seconds you need to be able to describe who you are and which problems your expertise can solve. Practice until it comes naturally. Tweak as you go, judging by listener response.
- Be active in LinkedIn Groups related to your profession, responding to questions and drawing other LinkedIn users to connect to you.
- Follow industry blogs of different size readerships. Subscribe and comment on them so that the bloggers discover and interact with you, especially if you have your own blog too. It’s better to get a lot of attention from 10 small blogs than no attention on 2 big ones.
- Start blogging about your profession. As a super virtual resume, blogging is a terrific way to not only grow your network and show your expertise but also to attract job offers.
- Sign up to Twitter. Take a few moments to flesh out your profile, putting your personal tagline in the Bio box and customising the background image. Use TweetDeck to automatically follow back any people who follow you, then search for people to add to your network.
- Create a Facebook Page. Use Facebook for more than staying in touch with friends and family. Separately from your personal profile, use a Facebook Page to promote yourself professionally, giving Facebook users a place to follow you as an expert in your field.
- Become a member of professional associations. Every professional sector has a group of people who are creating the standards and organising member professionals. Being part of such groups can net you recognition from across the industry. If you need ideas, search for Associations in LinkedIn and pick the ones with the highest ranking.
- Join real-world business networks. You want people in your industry to notice you. Find local networks by Googling ‘business network’ and the name of your city.
- Carry business cards with your personal tagline and contact information to give out to potential business contacts. Try to always leave a note on the back before handing over your card, for example, to write where you met.
- Ask for referrals when handing over business cards. People are more likely to respond to this than if you ask about open positions in their company. Give them extra cards if they have any potential referrals.
- Build an impressive web profile. A proper LinkedIn profile can show off your accomplishments, successes and elevator pitch. LinkedIn will also give you an easy-to-remember URL to put in your email signature, on your resume and business cards, encouraging people to connect with you. Use your personal tagline and easy-to-remember email address.
- Go to industry conferences, and make time to meet people and exchange business cards. Also great is to use conferences to finally see people face-to-face after having met online.
- Bring friends along. You can network in parallel and compare notes, opening doors for each other.
- Volunteer. Meeting new people is one of the best reasons why job seekers should volunteer. If there aren’t many opportunities locally through, find them online using a site like Idealist.org.
- Join a gym. This can be a great place to network with people from across different industries and positions. There are also many other reasons to exercise regularly
- Get a career and/or job search coach. Among the many benefits, the coach will be able to guide you on other ways to grow your network.
- Do information interviews. This is a great way to get your foot in the door, and you’d be surprised how often in can lead to a job, even in a different department or company.
- Email friends and family and ask them to put you in contact with anyone that can help your job search or talk to people you see regularly. Neighbours, parents at your kids’ school, you name it…. Cast your net as wide as possible.
- Offer a reward when you email your personal contacts. They’ll be willing to help you for free, but encourage them to forward your email to their own contacts for whom the reward may be a big motivator.
- Join an alumni jobs network. Placing alumni in jobs is usually a major goal of university and college alumni networks and also military reserves associations.
- Nudge people in your network from time to time. A simple “any way I can help?” is a great way to stay in touch and not be forgotten.
- Always follow-up. Whether to confirm a referral or to send over a link to an article you discussed, find a good reason to follow up with new contacts before they forget about you (which is usually within 24-48 hours). Always remember to use thank you notes and ensure to take the time necessary to appreciate the people in your network. Just because people are happy to help doesn’t mean you should take their help for granted. Snail mail will make your note stand out even more.
Networking is not just for extroverts. Don’t sit around and wait. Don’t waste your time procrastinating. Go ahead and share these ideas if you know someone who is currently job searching.
These are just some of the many insights and tips that have come to my mind. If you have better suggestions, please share them here and if you know a jobseeker, share the blog post. It doesn’t matter who you are and how much experience you have, networking is one of the most effective tools to find a new job or change careers. Just get started and remember to hunt wisely!