Even in the best of times, looking for a new job can be daunting. Throw in a global pandemic, a market downturn, and a cost-of-living crisis and the job hunt is more challenging than ever!
As the job market continues to adapt and evolve, we need to do the same. We need to use out-of-the-box techniques to identify opportunities before they are snapped up, know how to send a stand-out application, impress at every step of the interview process, and secure a competitive offer.
One method that’s often overlooked is the power of networking. In this blog post, we will explore how you can effectively leverage your networks to not only discover job opportunities but also increase your chances of landing them.
1. Join specialised communities
Communities are an incredibly valuable resource, especially in the tech industry. They provide a platform for like-minded professionals to connect with each other, share insights, and access exclusive opportunities before they’re advertised.
Not only can specialised communities help you find a job, but they also allow you to ask others for their advice or opinion when doing due diligence about a company you would like to join.
Here are some specialised communities worth checking out:
👉🏻 Minority-specific groups
Consider joining specialised communities that are relevant to your background like Women in Tech Forum, Black Girls in Tech, or Out in Tech. These groups often have exclusive job listings and networking events tailored to underrepresented groups so can help you gain a competitive edge and access opportunities you may not find elsewhere!
👉🏻 Industry-specific groups
Consider joining industry-specific communities like RevGenius where B2B professionals gather to discuss trends, share job openings, and seek advice. By engaging in meaningful conversations with your peers, you can showcase your expertise, learn from others, and build strong connections that will support you in your job search.
2. Use LinkedIn strategically
If you use it correctly, LinkedIn is a networking goldmine.
Here’s how to maximise its potential to build and grow your network:
👉🏻 Showcase who you are
Build a strong profile with a compelling headline and a well-structured summary that tells others what you have achieved in your career so far. When you connect with new professionals, this will increase the chances of them accepting your request.
👉🏻 Partner with trusted recruiters
Use the search function to find reputable recruiters in your field. Drop them a message highlighting who you are, what you have achieved so far, and what you would like to do next. After a quick call, you will be on their radar so they can notify you as soon as suitable job opportunities arise.
👉🏻 Connect wisely
Engage in thoughtful and meaningful networking. Do not just throw connection requests out to anybody and everybody. LinkedIn gives you 100 connection requests to send per week, so use them wisely! Try to also be active on LinkedIn - this will help you with future applications. Share relevant industry news, write posts about your journey so far, leave comments on other posts, and get involved in discussions.
P.S. LinkedIn has a great resource called the LinkedIn Guide to Networking - check it out!
3. Seek advice and mentorship
As mentioned earlier, networking is great for more than just finding job opportunities. When done correctly, you can use your network to learn how to ace an interview and gain genuine insights from people who have currently or previously worked at the company you are interviewing with.
Identify experienced professionals who can offer guidance and add them to your network. They are probably very busy, so approach them only with specific questions about your job search, career goals, or industry trends. You will be surprised though - most people are more than happy to share their knowledge and offer valuable insights.
Consider finding a mentor or partnering with a specialist recruiter who will stay by your side at every step of the hiring process. These people can help you navigate challenging situations and provide valuable career advice throughout.
Where possible, go to in-person and virtual networking events to expand your network and put yourself in front of industry experts. Conferences, webinars, and workshops are all excellent opportunities to connect with other professionals and are often organised through industry-specific communities like the ones mentioned earlier. Plus, meeting others face-to-face can help boost your confidence and improve your interview performance.
4. Don’t forget about personal networks
Do not underestimate the power of your immediate circle. Utilise any connections that your family and friends have and ask them for advice too. Before going into an interview, roleplay different scenarios with them and ask for honest feedback.
If you went to university, you can also utilise your alumni network. Many have job boards and networking events tailored to graduates.
Stay on good terms with your old bosses and colleagues and they will be a great source of advice and support! Whether you need a positive recommendation or an industry connection, people are usually happy to help. There's no harm in asking!
By implementing these four strategies to effectively leverage your professional and personal networks, you will not only discover more job opportunities but will also increase your chances of successfully landing your dream role!
Don’t forget to use your networks to identify opportunities, improve your interview performance, and conduct due diligence on potential employers.
Your networks are a valuable resource for job searching, career growth, and development, so build and use them wisely!