Networking is a tool one should never overlook as part of their job-seeking strategy. For many applicants, knowing the right person within the company they apply to gives an edge over the competition. Those looking for opportunities in a specific industry use networking skills to learn about positions that might not be advertised. Whichever job situation you find yourself in, networking makes job seeking significantly easier.
Benefits of job networking include:
- Application referrals
- Industry connections
- Career advice
- Professional support
This process creates a network of contacts which puts your resume into the hands of potential employers and avoids the slush pile of filed away applications.
How to Build Your Job Network
Job networking involves creating and building long-term relationships with other people in your desired industry. The goal of networking is to generate future job opportunities and leads which aren’t always apparent. Building this web of contacts requires some research and analysis of what job or career goals you want.
Some great places to find potential networking relationships are:
- Professional associations
- Non-profit charities that you volunteer with
- Your religious organization
- Former classmates
- Alumni clubs you were a member of
- Military programs you participate in
- Neighbors and relatives
- Job recruitment firms
Your contact list should include more than previous employers or current coworkers. Try to add people from your social network and any other groups or clubs in which you participate.
Approaching a Network Contact for Help
Generally, you can approach contacts for networking either formally or informally. The approach you take depends upon your familiarity with the individual, a company’s application process, or other factors.
Formal networking requires attending specific meetings, gatherings, online workshops, or associations related to the business. Most people at these events are also looking to network. This is advantageous because not only do you get to chat and relate to their experiences, but you receive the opportunity to exchange contact information or business cards.
Informal networking is a more casual method to build up your personal contacts. It is the easiest way to get started because you are mostly just reaching out for advice or help regarding your job search. These types of conversations build your network because it is a more personal experience and may introduce you to other circles that can move your search along.
Value Your Network
No matter what method you use, be genuine and serious about treating your contacts with respect and appreciation. These relationships are not merely a means to an end but are valuable pathways to future career opportunities.
Important points to consider in maintaining your network relationships are:
Thank them for their help. You wouldn’t have these opportunities without them, a quick note expressing this fact with a thank you note is a great way to show your appreciation.
Follow-up on your progress. It is important to keep your contacts updated on your progress and how their assistance benefited you in the process.
Ask network contacts to celebrate a job offer with you. Reinforce what a positive experience it is to network with you and keep them involved when you get the job.
Ask for help if you still aren’t finding a job. Sometimes more suggestions or advice is necessary to land the career of your dreams.
Try to be of service to their career goals. One good turn deserves another is an excellent rule to live by when networking. Be available as a network contact for those who are helping you.
Make JL Nixon One of Your Network Contacts
It’s important to connect with the right individuals and companies when building your job network within the insurance industry. A results-driven recruitment firm is a great beginning. J.L. Nixon Consulting provides tools, strategies, and advice to help you find and excel in a career. We want to learn about your skills, experience, and goals that you are passionate about.
At J.L. Nixon Consulting, we make it a priority to match opportunities to your needs and support you through every step of the process. Our more than 30 years of insurance industry experience offers our clients valuable career advice and opportunities. Contact us today at (210) 649-1500 to learn more about starting or continuing an exciting insurance career.