Without a doubt, networking is the number one job search strategy and the best way to learn about open positions. Often, jobs are not posted but rather promoted through personal connections.
As a professional, you need to develop relationships with contacts in and outside your field. However, the main objective of networking is not to find a job, but to build a pool of resources of people who are able to assist you throughout your entire career.
Networks can also help you with the daily work you perform in your career, which can ultimately assist you with moving up the career ladder.
The Career Center advises students and alumni to begin the networking process by making a list of one’s entire professional contacts as if starting a business, and then consider the following:
- Don’t keep your job search to yourself. There is no need to hide the fact that you are looking for a job or to be ashamed of your circumstance. There are many people in the job market seeking to advance in their positions, or looking for new experiences. In fact, most professionals will be faced with a job search challenge at some point in their career. So the more people who you know, the more likely you may hear about job leads.
- Develop a broad list of “connections.” Connections can open doors to people who might be in a hiring position or a job lead provider. Don’t forget obvious contacts such as family, friends, former and fellow employees, students, teachers, career advisors, headhunters and recruiters. And be sure to tap into members of your favorite professional organizations.
- Meet with career advisors and job advocates who can serve as mentors, provide career advice about job searching, and provide professional recommendations.
- Join online communities using social media sites. LinkedIn is designed to help you make connections with other professionals.
- Participate in Career Center networking opportunities. Take part in career fairs, and use Hire-A-Redbird to identify employers seeking Illinois State talent.
- Get involved. Attend business socials, join a club in your area, tap into alumni networks, or volunteer for a local organization. Meet members and showcase your skills through your involvement.
Learn more about networking and other related career tips by visiting the Career Center.