Why is it important for job-seekers to network?
As part of my job description, I have to attend various networking events, seminars and expos. A new trend that I have observed is that job-seekers now are active members of those networking events. So if you are a job-seeker, your next challenge is to attend a networking event that is NOT targeted to job seekers. Why, you ask?
It will help you reach your target audience, which is the employed individuals.
People attending the networking event are individuals working in different positions and managers managing their particular department in the workplace. They could potentially be your next colleague or manager.
It will foster your professional behavior as you are in a professional environment.
Imagine being able to practice meeting your interviewer or manager for the first time. We all wish we could somehow practice that scenario but it is never the same with friends and family. The people you are around in a networking event are possibly the interviewers for the organisation.
What if you had the option to restart again and again?
Logically speaking, if you don’t hit it off very well with a person you meet, unlike a bad interview which may be hard to salvage, you can end the conversation and go and meet other people in the room. However, Its given that if the outcome is repeating, you need to change your approach.
It will grow your reach.
You will get to know people, who know people, who knows someone that has a job or knows of an opportunity in their company. As confusing as that may sound, that is exactly how it works. Someone you meet at a networking event may not directly have a job for you but by connecting to that one person, you are not a 2nd degree connection to their entire network.
Networking is also important for job seekers who find their jobs in the traditional way, i.e. responding to an ad. You can find out if you’ve got a connection in common with the person doing the hiring. Then ask that person if they’ll put in a good word for you. Many references that are listed don’t get called, but a good reference personally made by someone close to the employer could be the edge that gets you the job.
Finally, you must continue to network once you land a suitable job. In today’s job market, positions are not as secure as they once were. Thus it is important that you continue to network by attending events, helping out others, and communicating passively with potential employers who may be interested in your expertise.