Networking is an important part of hunting for a job but it’s one thing to make connections and another thing to actually use those connections to get the dream job. Smart people know and follow the old adage that “it’s not what you know, but who you know, that will help you get ahead in life.” 

Here are some tips to help utilise your network in your job search:

1. Your network is everywhere

Your parents, parent’s friends, teachers, neighbors, former bosses and colleagues are an important part of your network. Don’t take any connection you have for granted. Your current boss’ son or daughter might be the link you need to the dream job you’ve been trying to get.

2. Attend events

Showing up at events that relates with your job especially when you are not mandated to, shows your dedication to the job. This is a trait employers admire and look out for. Go prepared for events, by dressing well, prepare questions you can use as conversation starters and try to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Never underestimate anybody, because they are not potential employers doesn’t mean they don’t know who is.

3. Diversify your network

Your network should include a wide range of people. Don’t limit it to just people in your industry or age range. People in different generations tend to think differently and they might inspire your thinking and give you ideas on new strategies to try in your career. The same principle applies for networking with people in different fields.

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4. Work your way up

People find it easier referring someone they know can do the job. Nobody wants to associate their names with something bad. So, in order to build a track record if you have none, you should be open to doing jobs for less than you would ordinarily receive, with the hope that you would be referred by the satisfied client to other clients in their network.

5. Develop a strong online presence

Be active on your social media platforms especially LinkedIn. Prospective employers are always on the look out for fresh talent and that is the number one platform they go to. Ensure your profile is updated with skills that are relevant to your job of choice. Find the person in charge of the hiring process in your organisation of choice and strike up a conversation with them on social media. Remember to keep it polite and intelligent.

6. Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask someone in the field you are trying to get into to help you review your resume. Ask if they can spot reasons why they wouldn’t hire you. Be open to criticism and ready to make the required changes.

 7. Give yourself time

Networking and finding a job is not a short and easy process. You have to be prepared to be at it for a while, think of it as a long term project that can last anywhere from one month to six months or even a year. Being persistent would go a long way. Remember to always follow up with your contacts and be positive. Ensure that your network knows you are trying to get a job and what skills you possess. 

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