Is Your Network Helping or Hindering Your Career Growth?

May 28th, 2015

Ask just about anyone for job search advice, and you’re sure to hear one word: “Networking!”

But while nearly everyone seems to know that networking matters, not everyone knows that networking only works when it’s done right. Merely knowing a lot of people, or sending them an occasional mass email with job search updates, isn’t enough. To help your career thrive, you need to network effectively. Here’s how:

Build fewer connections with higher quality.

Resist the urge to attend professional “networking events” and hand a business card to everyone you see. While this may feel productive, chances are that you’ll simply waste cards – without a sense of who you are as a person or professional, few people will risk their own reputations by recommending you to those they respect.

Instead, start by looking at the professional and personal connections you already have. Reconnect with former co-workers or supervisors by contacting them to share information. Schedule a face-to-face meeting if you can, even if it’s just for coffee. When you focus your energies on the people who can help you the most, you place yourself in a much stronger position to find the job you’re looking for.

Treat the connection as an opportunity to give as well as receive.

Consider opening the networking conversation by asking what you can do for your connections. When you and your contacts both gain while networking, you build a long-term relationship while helping your connection think highly of you – making them more likely to recommend you in the future. You’ll also be expanding your skills, which allows you to offer timely, relevant answers to interview questions like “What have you been working on since you left your last employer?”

Work with a recruiter.

Staffing firms pride themselves on the depth and quality of their professional connections in the industries they serve. Even if you don’t know anyone at a particular company, chances are good that your recruiter does – and that your recruiter knows just how to recommend you and to whom.

At 1st Staffing Group, our experienced recruiters take pride in the professional networks we build every day. Tap in to our expertise and get started on a job path you’ll love. Contact us today to learn more.

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