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How to Build Your Network During a Job Search

Posted by Alan McMillian on Thu, Oct 06, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Build your network, job search

Whether you are doing this job search from campus, or you are a few years out and you find yourself in a search, one of the side-benefits of doing it is expanding and fortifying your personal network.  You will come across a lot of new contacts, be in touch with others, many of whom you have not connected with in a while.  Use this to your advantage. 

I am assuming that you have yourrepositoriesof contacts in the two places (LinkedInandOutlook).  As you meet new people during your search you are adopting astandard operating procedureto tie down with them and connect. 

Lets be clear, I am talking about a self-directed job or intern search.  Self directed you say?  Yes, meaning you are not waiting for some company to come to campus and then meet them.  You are out seeking roles, beyond what comes to you during job fairs and interviewing events at your college.  You are proactive and engaged in the search. 
In so doing, you will be meeting, physically or virtually, a lot of new contacts.  You will be learning a lot about yourself and expanding your skills.  Those who meet you or already know you, will see a growing and energetic you. 

Will everyone do this?  Will your friends and peers en masse do this?  NO!  That is actually GREAT news for YOU.  What we are speaking about here is taking every aspect of your job search and creating a long term and enduring career advantage. 

Remember to keep organized.  You need your active contacts and opportunities in acentral place.  If they are buried in a long list of contacts in your repository they will not be top of mind.  Centralize them in a tool likeJob Search Radaror another one you utilized. 

Nurturing your network is key.  By that I mean when you contact those who you have not spoke to in a while, you immediately check to make sure their contact information is up to date.  Don’t assume you have the most current contact information.  It changes over time and you want enduring access into the future. 

Remember the element of service as well.  The key to having a great network is that you not only grow and nurture it, youSERVEit.  Look for ways that you can help those who you are seeking help from.  What you are learning from your search is valuable to many of your contacts.  Sure it isyoursearch, but your network is a life long asset.  Serve it well. 

Finally, at the end, say thank you.  Keep track of who you are contacting during the search process and let them know where you land, your contact information, and a hearty thank you for helping. 
I know the prime objective is to land the job or internship but your interaction with others spike during the search and you always want to better hone this powerful career asset. 

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Topics: Job Search, Network