In today’s job market, job seekers need to think outside the box when it comes to finding job opportunities. While applying for jobs through online job boards and company websites is still a necessary part of the job search process, relying solely on job postings is not enough to secure a job these days.
For that reason, networking has become an increasingly important strategy in finding job opportunities, especially during times of economic uncertainty. In fact, Apollo Technical reports that 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success, almost 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships, and 41% want to network more often. But wanting and doing are two different things.
If you’re in the market for a new job, read on to gain tangible tips for how to build a strong network, effective networking techniques to implement into your job-search strategy, and how to overcome common networking roadblocks you may face along the way.
Why Networking is Crucial in an Uncertain Job Market
With threats of a looming recession, job postings are scarce, and competition for the few available jobs is fierce. As a result, job seekers need to think creatively about how to find job opportunities—and networking is the golden ticket.
For one, networking can help job seekers stay ahead of the competition by tapping into the hidden job market—opportunities that are not advertised publicly, but rather filled through word-of-mouth referrals, personal connections, and recommendations.
Referrals and recommendations are a key part of the hidden job market. In fact, studies have shown that referrals are four times more likely to be offered a job than website applicants—likely because employers prefer to hire candidates who have been recommended by someone they know and trust. Referrals and recommendations can also help job seekers stand out from the competition by highlighting their skills and experience to potential employers.
By building a strong network, job seekers can tap into this hidden job market and increase their chances of finding a job opportunity that is a good fit for their skills and experience. But how does one go about building a stronger network?
Four Ways to Expand and Strengthen Your Network
Building a strong network takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. Whether you’re starting from scratch or have a foundation of solid professional connections, there’s always room for strengthening the relationships you already have.
Here’s are some steps job seekers can take to build a strong professional network:
1. Start with your existing network
One of the easiest ways to start building your network is to begin with the people you already know. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family members, former colleagues, and classmates to let them know you’re looking for a new opportunity; however, be mindful of the way you approach the conversation.
You want your contacts to become allies in your job search, not make them feel ambushed. So, rather than outright asking for a job, ask for information or insight from them instead. If they’re able to hire you or refer you to someone who can, they will. And if not, you haven’t put them in the uncomfortable position of turning you down or telling you they can’t help.
2. Get social offline
The internet is an incredible tool you should be using to your advantage, but nothing quite compares to making in-person connections. As mentioned in Forbes, networking in person allows better opportunity to read body language, hear tone of voice, and read facial expressions—all of which are valuable cues in understanding a person. For that reason, when you meet someone in person, you can establish a deeper connection than you would through an online interaction.
From conferences and industry happy hours to professional organizations and even volunteer opportunities, there are plenty of ways to meet new people and build meaningful connections with like-minded professionals in your industry to bolster your job pursuits.
3. Get social online, too
While in-person events make it easier to build stronger connections off the bat, online platforms certainly aren’t something to be ignored. Virtual events like conferences, industry forums, and happy hours allow for on-demand connection with professionals around the world—largely broadening your network in ways that in-person events typically fall short.
And then, of course, there’s social media. Social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, can be an effective way to connect with others in your industry or area of interest. In fact, the statics are pretty mind-blowing. Kinsta reported that a recent study found that 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn with 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site. So, it’s unsurprising that 101 Job applications are submitted through LinkedIn every second, and eight people are hired every minute.
The best way to leverage your job search via social media is to make sure your profile is up-to-date, and that you’re consistently dedicating time to connect with others in your field. You can even join LinkedIn groups related to your industry to connect with even more people.
4. Enlist support from a staffing agency
Last but certainly not least, staffing agencies like Action Group Staffing can be an excellent resource for job seekers looking to expand their network. Many staffing agencies specialize in specific industries or job types, so look for one that aligns with your career goals. For example, we at Action Group specialize in the food packaging and bottling, manufacturing and assembly, and warehouse and distribution industries.
Working with a staffing agency can also help you get in front of potential employers and job opportunities that you might not have found on your own, thanks to their expansive networks of thousands of organizations with open positions. And not only can they present you with more opportunities, but also better ones for you. In Bullhorn’s 2023 Grid Talent Report, 28% of 1,000 respondents said that the greatest value their recruiter added to their job search experience was finding them the right job based on their needs and wants.
Take the Next Step in Your Career with Action Group Staffing
Networking is a vital component of a successful job search strategy, especially in an uncertain job market. By building a strong network, job seekers like you can tap into the hidden job market, stay ahead of the competition, and increase your chances of finding a job opportunity that is a good fit for your skills and experience.
Job seekers who have worked with us at Action Group Staffing know that we are a people-first business. From the moment you fill out an application, to your first day on the job, to the day you decide to move up the ladder, we’ll help you every step of the way. Our Building Success program has put thousands of job seekers like you on the road to a better career and a better life.
Let us help you build your network and land your next job. Get in touch today to start your search with us.
Leave a Reply