Tuesday, May 28Multi-awarded Filipina blogger, ocial media specialist, publicist and content creator

How to Network for Better Job Opportunities

If you’re on the hunt for better work, learning how to network effectively can help you get there. Current research suggests that around 80% of jobs are secured through personal and professional networks. This means that it’s in your best interest to spend the bulk of your job-hunting time networking, whether you’re doing so online, at organized events, or even among your friends and relatives. Plus, employing several of these networking strategies can drastically increase your chances of landing a good job offer.

Networking showcases your ability to build strong and meaningful relationships, a skill that’s just as important in the workplace as it is during the job hunt. When you network, the onus is on you to give the person you’re speaking with a positive impression of your skills, attitude, and knowledge of the industry. That way, when the time comes, they can point you toward a potentially lucrative job hiring in the Philippines or even abroad.

Use these five helpful tips to make the most of every networking opportunity:

Network Face-to-Face

Although the business world is becoming more and more digital, there’s value in stepping out from behind the safety of your computer screen to network in person. Networking face-to-face gives you opportunities for more personal interaction than you can get digitally. It also allows you and your contacts to form more comprehensive impressions of one another as you get to observe each other’s body language, speech, and other mannerisms up close.

Meeting your contacts face-to-face sends the message that you’re invested enough in them and willing to make time for them. Instead of simply emailing a friend or acquaintance who works at a company you’d like to apply to, for instance, consider taking them out for lunch or coffee. It’s also always a good idea to attend events specifically designed to help participants make more professional connections, like job fairs, industry conventions, product launches, and other business-hosted events.

Of course, your in-person networking efforts need not necessarily be limited to formal engagements. You can also try personal networking with your friends and family in much more relaxed settings. The next time you attend a dinner party or a family gathering, mention casually that you’re looking for a new job to those you talk to. Someone you know just might be able to point you in the right direction.

Make the First Move

Many hesitate to network because they’re intimidated by the thought of approaching influential people, but it’s in your best interest to push past this fear. As long as you approach someone directly and respectfully, many people will gladly agree to at least a short exchange. And if the person you speak to shoots you down, you can always just take it as a sign that they’re probably not someone you’d want to work with in the long run. Either way, making the first move shows that you’re proactive and willing to venture outside your comfort zone—qualities that will set you up for success in most workplaces.

Build a Connection

Effective networking is less about selling yourself than it is about creating a genuine connection, so focus on building a relationship before you even think of asking for anything. It’s often enough to simply ask thoughtful questions and show genuine interest in the other person’s company. If you find you like them and their business enough, ask for an opportunity to make further contact before you conclude your conversation.

Industry or corporate events are perfect settings for discussing business, but if you encounter a potential professional contact in a more informal environment, do your best to read the room. Most recruiting experts will encourage you not to infringe too much on the other person’s social or leisure time. Instead, ask if they’d be willing to chat at length at a different time and exchange contact information.

Plan a More Formal Meeting

Single encounters will rarely turn into jobs or job leads by themselves. Make plans to speak or meet with your contacts again before you end your chat, as this can help set up a further relationship down the line. For instance, if you’ve just met a high-ranking executive or some other influential person, try asking for around 10 to 15 minutes of their time at a later date for an informational interview. Make it clear that you’re seeking to learn more about their company rather than asking for a job. If they agree to meet you for lunch or coffee or even invite you over to their offices, that’s a good sign.

Offer to Assist Your Contacts

Asking your contacts if there’s anything you can do for them is a surefire way to improve your relationship. Not only does offering help show your genuine interest and initiative, but it also gives your contacts the chance to observe your skills, work ethic, and other abilities. These insights will help them vouch for you to other people later on. So if someone you know professionally needs help with a project or a minor task, don’t hesitate to volunteer. Your being proactive may just pay off if your contact later remembers your contributions and recommends you for a promising opening.

Networking enables you to take advantage of business and personal connections rather than depending solely on your resume and public job ads. Learn to network like a pro, and your chances of scoring competitive employment will likely improve by leaps and bounds.

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