NETWORKING & RECRUITERS
Networking and recruiters are your two most powerful allies when looking for your next career. Let us show you how to use both of them to their full potential!
How to Make the Most of Networking
Everyone has heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” and while this age-old saying might seem worn out, it’s more relevant than ever in today’s professional environment. Regardless of whether you’re actively searching for a job or perfectly happy with where you are right now, it’s important to dedicate some of your time to professional networking. The reason? In a recent survey, LinkedIn found that 70% of people hired in 2016 had at least one connection at the company that hired them.
We’ve put together a list of helpful tips for building a network and networking more efficiently, as well as some examples of networking opportunities.
Building a Network – When you first begin, it’s a good idea to look at your existing network — chances are that you are more connected than you think!
Think about your coworkers (past and present), managers/supervisors, family friends, alumni that attended your college, and members of your church, gym, and other organizations. Start reaching out to individuals from these groups that you think will be beneficial to your career development, as they can put you in contact with people in their network.
If, after this, you want to expand your network further, try attending a networking event. Networking opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, from formal, industry-related conferences, to career fairs, to pottery classes at your local arts center. There’s always a chance to network. Other opportunities include high school and college reunions, as well as college-sponsored events for alumni and students to mingle. When attending these events, there are some key things to keep in mind for effective networking:
30 Second Pitch – When someone asks what you do, you want to have a clear, concise answer prepared. Explain your company, your position, and your clientele.
Quality over Quantity – Many people approach networking events as though it were a game of “who can collect the most business cards?” If you spend all your time trying to meet as many people as possible, chances are high that a) you won’t make a lasting impression, and b) you won’t be able to figure out who is important for your network. Instead, focus on meaningful interaction.
Be an Active Listener – You have a limited amount of time at the event, so don’t waste it talking about yourself the whole time. After introducing yourself and explaining what you do, ask questions (and actually listen). People like talking about themselves, and asking questions is a good way to demonstrate that you care about what they have to say. Remember to be fully present — don’t scan the room for your next potential opportunity. The person you are talking to will notice, and it will likely leave a bad impression.
Take Notes – After the event is over, take notes of what happened. Include things like: interesting people you met, people you want to follow up with, new information you learned, and people you may be able to help.
Reciprocate – While networking is essential for personal advancement, it has to be a two-way street. Don’t just think about who can help you, think about who you can help, too. People will want to help you if they know you help others!
Maintaining your Network – Now that you have started to develop your network, it is imperative that you maintain it. A big mistake that people make is, after they get a new job, they neglect their network. Even if you do not immediately need the support of your network, you never know when it will come in handy, so keeping in touch is important.
Here are some easy steps to keep your professional relationships strong.
Social Networking is Key – If you aren’t active on LinkedIn, it’s time to change that. Try to share articles that are relevant to your industry 1-2 times a week. If you find an article that is relevant to a specific connection, send it to them directly with a brief personal message. This small effort will go a long way. Additionally, try and post a career update every so often to keep your network updated on your professional progress.
Make Connections for Others – As previously mentioned, networking is a two-way street. If you meet someone who would benefit from the assistance of one of your connections, put them in touch. Even if it doesn’t pan out, it will show both parties that you care.
Inner Circle – Identify the 10-15 most important contacts in your professional network, and make sure to have 2-3 meaningful interactions with them a year. Send an email or give them a call to check in and see how they are doing, both professionally and personally. While social media is a great way to stay in touch and up to date with your extended network, your inner circle should get a bit more individual attention.
Recruiters: Who are they and what do you need to know?
On this site we have already discussed the importance of networking in the professional world and its utility in the job search. Though many people find their next position through their network, there are other valuable avenues for finding work that are worth looking into. The largest source of job placement (after networking) is recruitment. In this article we will look at the service a recruiter provides and what you need to know about them for your job search.
What Does a Recruiter Do – Recruiters, also known as headhunters, essentially function as a middleman that connects companies to potential job candidates. When a company has a role that needs to be filled, they will contact a recruiter, explain the job opening, and provide a list of criteria that they are looking for in potential applicants. From there, it is the recruiters job to find these potential applicants and reach out to them about the position. While there are many ways to find applicants, the overwhelming majority of recruiters consider social media to be an essential part of the recruiting process. Once an applicant that fits the company’s minimum requirements is found, the recruiter will connect the applicant to the hiring company and begin the application/interview process.
Different Types of Recruiters – Generally speaking, the two main types of recruiters that you are likely to encounter are “internal” or “in-house” and “contingency” recruiters.
An internal recruiter works directly for a company, and is in charge of filling positions at the company as they open up. Since they earn a salary and represent their company, they will not be as aggressive as other recruiters.
Unlike an internal recruiter, a contingency recruiter does not earn a salary. Whether or not they get paid is contingent (dependent) on them finding an applicant. These recruiters do not work directly for a company, but rather for an agency that is contracted by the company.
What Do you Need to Know – If you’re in the midst of a job search, there are some major advantages to working with a recruiter – specifically a contingency recruiter. Due to the fact that they do not earn a salary, contingency recruiters will have a vested interest in helping you get the job. Benefits of working with them include:
They will be able to connect you with prime job opportunities before they get posted on public job pages.
They will help you edit and tailor your resume so that you appear more attractive to the employer.
Since they are familiar with the company, they can help you practice for your interview and give you an idea of what kind of questions to expect.
So, how do you actually work with a recruiter? While the recruiter ultimately works for the hiring company, you do not have to wait for them to contact you about a position in order to benefit from their assistance. There are two important aspects when it comes to finding a recruiter:
Make Yourself Attractive – As previously mentioned, social media is a huge aspect of the recruiting game, so it is crucial that your online presence is as attractive as you are! If you haven’t already, make sure that your LinkedIn is up to date and that you are active on the site. Additionally, submit your resume to job websites like Indeed to make it easier for recruiters to find you.
Reach out – If you are looking for a job in a specific industry, a quick internet search will help you identify the recruiting agencies in your city with experience in that industry. Reach out to the agency and they will connect you with one of their recruiters. It’s a good idea to come prepared with examples of companies you would like to work for, so the recruiter knows to contact you if a similar position opens up.
Once you find a recruiter you would like to work with, it would be incredibly beneficial to develop a relationship with them. The more they care about you and your success as a person, the more likely they will be to help find a job. As a part of this, it is a good idea to stay in touch with them on a semi-frequent basis. Reconnect every so often to ask if they’ve found anything and to update them on your search progress, but don’t contact them so frequently that it becomes overbearing.
Try to actually meet your recruiter face-to-face! Very few applicants (5-10%) ever meet their recruiter in person. It will not only be easier to explain your professional strengths and what you are looking for, but it helps put a face to the name for both parties involved
As you can see, working with a recruiter can be extremely advantageous when you are looking for a job, but don’t rely solely on recruitment to find a job. Remember to keep using your network and the other resources available to you!
As always, happy hunting!