Where should you network?
Whether you prefer to connect online or in person, there are plenty of ways to expand your network.
There are so many social media sites to choose from these days. In terms of networking, the one where you spend the most time is likely to be the most fruitful in terms of networking.
In addition to constantly adding new connections as you meet them, make sure you post regularly and interact with other users' posts in order to keep your name at the top of their minds. You can follow companies as well as individuals to ensure that you hear of any new vacancies, company news and industry updates.
LinkedIn should be your first port of call when you think of networking. Start by updating your LinkedIn profile during the job search. Optimise your header and make sure you have sufficient detail within your profile . That will help to give recruiters a comprehensive overview of your skills, experience and value. Also, check your privacy settings to ensure your profile is visible to the right people.
Then start posting, connecting and interacting. If you're feeling particularly brave, you could even send personalised connection requests to professionals already working at your target companies, or in your target roles, to ask for career advice and make new connections.
Don't overlook Twitter when you're networking online ‒ it can be a great place to stay informed. Just like LinkedIn, once you clean up your profile to make sure you're presenting a professional image, you can start following companies you're interested in. You may hear about new vacancies this way. Just as importantly, you'll have their latest news and updates so that, come interview time, you can show you've done your research.
You can also follow job boards and other professionals. Don't forget to post some tweets yourself to get your name out there and demonstrate your insight and professional interests.
From small, local events to large industry conferences and even online gatherings, networking events are the traditional (and traditionally feared) way of expanding your network. However, signing up for every event and throwing around business cards isn't the most effective way to go about it.
Select your events carefully to ensure they align with your requirements. You can engage online with delegates and event hashtags before the event to start getting involved. For the day of, be sure to prepare a strong elevator pitch. Go with the aim of building relationships, rather than immediately securing a new job.
Grow your existing network ‒ whilst also giving back to the community and plugging career gaps ‒ through volunteering. You'll have the chance to make strong connections with other volunteers and connect with the organisation's executives ‒ it may even lead to paid work further down the line.