I was just sitting here thinking about my career path, and how I managed to find different opportunities in my career that I was lucky enough to be offered the position.
We always say that networking leads to your next job. For me, that is definitely true.
My first job at Long John Silvers happened because two of my buddies were already working there. I needed that job because I wanted Levi’s, but my mom said she was only going to buy me Wranglers. So, I asked Scott and Tim if they could put a good word in for me. I already had my foot in the door with two insiders bending the ear of the shift manager to hire me. Before I knew it, I was frying fish and making minimum wage.
After jumping around from one fast food restaurant to another, my sister recommended me for a position as a groundskeeper for an apartment community. I didn't know where this job would lead to professionally, but I had bills to pay. So, I gleefully accepted. What a good move that turned out to be!
After many years and several promotions within the multifamily industry, I found myself working as an Assistant Manager/Bookkeeper. I was comfy cozy. I did not have any thoughts of searching for a new job. Unexpectedly, I was fortunate enough to have a company hear about me through the grapevine, and I was actively recruited by a furniture company to join their sales team.
Then, there was the one time when I was unemployed for the longest stint in my life when a call came out of the blue. It was a previous co-worker who had just been hired by a telecommunications company. She knew that they needed more people, and instantly thought of me. Through that phone call and that referral, I was working again within two weeks.
On two other occasions, I learned about and was offered opportunities to work for employers from my past, one of which I accepted.
There were a few new jobs that came about from internet searches and job postings, but from my memory it was usually the help of others that gave me the opportunity to interview. Plus, I remember the jobs that I landed from the internet postings seemed a bit more difficult to obtain. When I had the others saying good things about me, it was a much easier interview, and the offer for new employment seemed to come much sooner.
How to Make Networking Work for You
If you are currently looking for a new job, it is high time to dust off that book of contacts and start reaching out to people who are in position to help.
A lot of us let pride and fear get in the way of asking for help or sharing bad news, yet inherently, people want to assist you, especially when times are tough. So, let your contacts know that you are actively searching.
Think about it, how can people tell you about an opening that they hear of if they don’t know that you’re looking for a new job?
With this is mind, ask yourself a few questions so that you can start to build a list of people that can contribute to your new career path. Who do you know that works for a company you are targeting? Who did you work with in the past, and where are they working now? Did you have relationships with vendors or clients from your previous places of employment that may have a need for your talents? Is there a company you worked for in the past that you wouldn't mind working for again in a better role?
These are all great questions you should try to answer to power your networking and make it work for you. Still keep an eye on the job boards and apply for positions that interest you, but also let your friends, family, previous co-workers, and the people you meet today know of your situation. This will give your job search additional traction, and people will start saying your name. Let your good reputation and work ethic make it through the grapevine to the ears of your new employer.