It’s not what you know but who you know. So goes the old saying. In the world of job hunting, that principle seems to hold true. Networking can help
catapult your career to new levels. And the best thing about networking? It’s free. Building relationships take only the investment of your time. Whether online or in person, meeting new people can unlock doors to career opportunities that may not have been on your radar.
To find new connections, start with your old ones. You can use various networking sites to find prior connections who may be able to introduce you to decision-makers within your preferred companies. Online networking sites have made this easier than ever before. Send out a personalized
message to a former connection to re-establish the relationship. Endorse their skills online and write recommendations for their pages. These gestures are professional courtesies that can lead to partnerships down the line.
Even though technology has streamlined the networking process, there is no substitute for face-to-face relationship-building. Arrange in-person meetings with people you’d like to network with. Offer to catch up over coffee or lunch, remembering that you don’t want to be seen as a burden
on your connection’s time. Professional associations or trade groups are great for widening your network of connections. They give you access to other professionals who may work for or have contacts within companies you want to join. Many are even job-specific, helping you get directly to the people
with major influence within your industry. Your college or university’s alumni associations offer another way to make professional connections. You can start by contacting your alma mater’s alumni relations office to join the group and gain access to any online member databases. Remember, networking works both ways. Be sure to introduce new connections to people you know to help them in their own careers.