Janice Reed
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Building connections to boost your job search
Last updated: September 30, 2022
Janice Reed
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Building connections to boost your job search
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Looking for new job opportunities? Professional networking can help you land a position.

Your networking contacts may know someone who is hiring or give you career insights to help you change jobs.

Did you know that around 80% of positions are filled by professional networking? If you're serious about your job hunt, you should build relationships that can set you apart from other candidates.

Not sure where to start? Get ready to learn the basics of networking.

We'll give you a rundown of where you can find the right connections. Then, we’ll explain how your network can support your job search.

What is networking?

Even if it's not something you think about, you probably already have a professional network. Your network is made up of like-minded people who support your career goals.

For example, your friends, family members, coworkers, teachers, and managers could all be in your existing network.

Career networking is all about making and maintaining connections. There are different ways to grow your network. You can meet new people through mutual connections, online, or at professional networking events.

When you meet new people, you can swap details or add each other to a social networking website.

The aim is to have strong relationships, so you should try to have mutually beneficial connections. This means you should support the people in your network with their careers.

When you have a professional network, you need to schedule time to keep in touch. Some contacts you’ll catch up with regularly, while others you might connect with every few months.

How can networking help you find a job?

Meaningful connections can help you find a job now and in the future.

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When you connect with the right professionals, they can give you advice. If they don't have the answer to your questions, they may have a friend they can introduce you to.

For example, someone you meet could work in a similar career field. There may be a job opening at their workplace, or they might know a hiring manager who is looking for job candidates.

If someone gives you a referral, it can help you get hired. A coworker or previous manager can vouch for your skills, either on the phone or with a written letter of recommendation.

Sometimes, you'll just need moral support. People in your network can check your resume and cover letter to make sure you haven't missed anything. They can help you practice your interview answers or help you choose the perfect interview outfit.

Your connections can also give you insights into different career fields and share tips and advice that could help your job search.

Where to find the right connections

Now that you know how networking can help you get a job, it's time to find the right connections. How can you do it? Let's take a look.

Reconnect with people you already know

Think about the people around you. Check in with your friends and family and ask if they know any business people you could add to your network.

For example, if you're working in food services, they may know a restaurant manager or bar owner. A quick introduction in person or via email could leave you with a supportive new friend.

There may be other contacts you haven't spoken to for a while. Previous coworkers, managers, teachers, and coaches all have something to offer.

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Whether you need a reference, industry advice, or you're thinking about a career change, reconnecting with people you've already met before can be easier than starting over.

Build an online presence

You can expand your network without leaving the comfort of your own home. Social media has made it easy to connect with potential employers and people with similar career interests.

Common social networks such as Facebook and Instagram can be a good place to start. However, there are dedicated websites made especially for job seekers.

When you sign up for a free Jobcase account, you can join our community discussions. You can build your virtual profile and add connections. If there's someone you're interested in adding to your network, simply visit their profile and click "connect" or send them a message.

Plus, when you sign up for Jobcase, you can create a free resume using our resume builder.

Attend networking events

Community organizations, companies, and other professional groups host networking events. These events can be in-person or online.

If you want to attend an in-person networking event, take your business cards with you. If you meet someone you connect with, you'll want to stay in touch.

You'll need good communication skills to talk to strangers, but it gets easier with practice. Read these tips for how to network with people you don’t know.

Some events will be casual, such as a monthly Saturday morning catch-up over coffee. Others will be more formal, such as a conference or job fair.

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The type of event you choose will depend on your networking style. If you're tech-savvy, you may prefer to join a virtual event and get to know others by video or chat.

Be part of the local community

There are other opportunities to meet people in your local community. For example, volunteering helps other people and makes you feel good. You'll make new friends, and some of them may be a good fit for your professional network.

You can also enroll in a short course. For example, you can sign up for a typing class at your local community center. You'll gain new skills and meet other like-minded people.

When you're ready to look for a job, having strong business relationships with people can help you get hired. Here's how to make the most of your professional contacts for your job search.

1. Create a mutually beneficial relationship

Long-term relationships need to be mutually beneficial. Effective networking is a two-way street, and it shouldn't just be about your career path.

When you support your connections with their career, they may return the favor in the future.

For example, if a friend is looking for work, you can do a shoutout on your social media platforms. You can ask if anyone is hiring and recommend them for a job.

When you decide to look for work in the future, they may do the same for you.

2. Meet in person

Online networking can save you time, and you can connect with people from all over the world. However, virtual communication can be slow, and sometimes it can be easier to brainstorm face-to-face.

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If there are people in your network who live nearby, consider meeting them in person. For example, a casual catch-up with a friend over dinner can be a fun way to discuss your career goals.

Setting up a regular networking group is another way you can stay connected and meet new people. Once a month, you can meet for a coffee, and group members can invite their friends.

If there are any areas of your career that you need help with, you can bring them up at your networking meeting.

3. Ask your connections to reach out

Your connections will have their own professional networks. They may know someone who is hiring or have business connections that you can learn from.

If you ask a connection to reach out to their network, make sure you know what you're looking for. Who do they know? How can they support your future goals?

Only ask for help when you really need it. If you're looking for a role in construction, someone in the industry will be the best person to ask.

For example, a friend who is an electrician may share your request on social media and put you in touch with a building manager.

4. Rejuvenate your resume

Want someone in your professional network to give you a referral for a job? Then you need to show them why they should recommend you.

If it's a coworker or manager, they'll already know what you're like in the workplace. However, someone you haven't worked with for a while or a new connection can't rely on personal experience.

What can you do? Start with your resume.

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Make sure your resume is ready to impress both your connections and a hiring manager. The most common resume format is chronological, highlighting your most recent position and working backward.

Look through your resume and make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Then, check that your contact details are correct.

When you ask someone for a referral, you can show them a copy of your resume.

5. Check in with the right people

If you've been busy growing your network, you may have lots of people you can reach out to. To save time, focus on the people who are relevant to your current goals.

If you're looking for a job in retail, start by reconnecting with those who work in either the retail or sales industry.

Need help with your cover letter or resume? You may have a mentor who could help. If you're interested in swapping careers, talk to someone who has made the change.

Or, if you need a reference, check in with someone who will give you a positive recommendation, such as a teacher or manager.

6. Make the most of email

When you need help with your career, consider a simple email message. Most people use email, and it's a good way to stay in touch with business professionals.

The recipient can get back to you when it suits them, and you can send a follow-up if they don't reply. You can use email to ask for a referral, a meeting, or an introduction to a hiring manager.

When sending an email, you can offer a copy of your resume or cover letter. Make sure you personalize your message and check for any spelling errors.

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To get you started, we've put together these tips for writing a professional networking email.

7. Be grateful

When a connection helps you with your job search, make sure you thank them. You might need their help again in the future, and they'll want to feel appreciated.

If it's a friend who's helped you get a job, why not take them out to dinner? If it's a professional connection, you can send them a thank you email.

When people are supporting you, do the same for someone else. Don't forget to be there for others in your network who need a helping hand.

8. Be good at what you do

Your networking skills can help you get a job, but what happens next?

If someone puts in a good word for you and you land the position, make sure you don't let them down. By vouching for you, they've put their reputation at stake.

Always try your best at work and make sure you're on time. Be positive, and if you don’t know how to do something, ask a senior team member for help.

If you decide to leave the job, try to go on good terms.

Where to find a job

Are you a job seeker? You've come to the right place. You can start your search by visiting our job board.

Look for jobs in your area, and browse by position type or company name. There are even remote options available.

When you're ready, sign up for a Jobcase account to make new connections. You can also sign up for email alerts to be notified of new job openings.

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Job networking for career success

A strong professional network can help you find a new job, either now or in the future. The people in your network will support your career and help you smash your goals.

Where can you find the right connections? You can start by reconnecting with people you already know.

You can also sign up for social media websites, attend networking events, and get involved in your local community.

If you want to make the most of your connections for your job search, make sure your relationships are mutually beneficial. Meet in person, and ask your friends to reach out to their networks.

Rejuvenate your resume, and make the most of email. Make sure you check in with those with relevant experience and be grateful if someone gives you support.

Most importantly, be good at what you do. If someone does refer you, don’t let them down.

You can start your job search at our job board. Plus, you can read more blog posts like this one in our resource center.

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