Last week we wrote about how building a soundly written resume will help to better position yourself for new career opportunities. Now we need to focus on what to do with this newly written resume and how you can increase your chances of being noticed by potential employers. As an athlete, we can all relate to doing everything to get a leg up on your competition in order to win the big game. Much is the same in the corporate world, and serious networking gives you a competitive advantage that will help you to win the job competition against other job seekers.
With your newly written resume in hand, we must now begin to find these networking avenues. As you may have been told before, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. By increasing the number of people that you are connected with, you increase the odds of finding that next career move. Studies show that networking results in nearly 60%-80% of all job offers.
Now that you understand the importance of networking, here are a number of ways you can go about getting started:
- LinkedIn*: This is a great tool to begin building your professional network. Build a profile and be sure to keep it updated regularly with new skills, certifications, education, etc. This also is a great tool to store and keep track of your contacts as you get them. Any time you meet someone knew, look them up on LinkedIn and connect with them. This will begin to build a searchable database of previous contacts that you can use to search for new ones. Another thing to remember about LinkedIn is it allows you the ability to interact with other LinkedIn users. Like, share, post and comment on various articles and postings to generate interest in yourself and your profile. Join groups with like minded individuals to network and share ideas. One thing to remember, however, is that LinkedIn is NOT Facebook or Twitter, so keep your comments and content relevant to professional settings.
- Facebook and Twitter*: While LinkedIn is a more professional social networking platform, that doesn’t mean that Facebook and Twitter should be discarded as they are valuable tools in networking as well. Be sure to create a profile and connect with people you know as well as new people you meet. This allows for a more personal connection that LinkedIn might not be able to offer. Connect with recruiters, friends, friends of parents in C-Level positions, etc.
- Job Sites/Career Boards*: These sites are great not only for researching for jobs, but for posting your resume so that potential employers/recruiters can search for you. Again, as we discussed, your resume should already be formatted properly so that anyone who might be interested knows exactly what you have done and what you are looking to do. Be sure before posting or sharing a resume that you have a second and third set of eyes review it. Nothing is a bigger turn off for an employer than simple spelling and grammar errors.
- Utilize Current/Former Connections: Former coaches, mentors, advisors, counselors, friends, family, teammates, etc. are all great to utilize mainly because you already know them! Why reinvent the wheel, take advantage of the connections you have already made and make the most of them! Call them; let them know you’re looking for a new career. Shadow them; get a feel for what they do and who they know.
- Career/Job Fairs: These are great opportunities to do some great networking with lots of people in a short period of time. Not only will there be opportunities to search for great companies to work for, but you have a chance to meet and talk with people that already work there and get their perspective on the company
- Recruiters: Reach out to recruiters! There are many different recruiters that specialize in many different industries. They will be able to help put you in front of new opportunities and help to coach you through the process. Here at NexGoal, we are recruiters that specialize in working with YOU, the athlete! Be sure to check out our job board as well for new opportunities
- Non-Conventional Methods: Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Try volunteering at local business events, join student clubs, attend various lectures, church groups, etc. Join your local chamber of commerce to gain insight into what’s what and who’s who in business in your area. Some additional examples of groups and organizations regionally to our Cleveland office would be:
- Cleveland Business Connects
- Sales and Marketing Executives: News and Events
- Cleveland Social Exchange
- Crain’s Cleveland Business: News and Events
- Smart Business Cleveland
- Cleveland Magazine: Events and Awards Nights
*Always remember when using social networking that you are keeping content relevant.
- Be sure to brand yourself as an attractive candidate who is looking to make a move. When creating a profile or updating a page, you want to be sure not to label yourself as a “jobseeker” or “unemployed”. This decreases the level of professionalism on your profile/page.
- Try using a phrase that highlights your interests and skills (hint: think along the lines of your objective statement on your resume). This way you give the impression that you are looking, without actually saying so.
- Be memorable: Choose a professional profile picture, post relevant information and content, etc.
- Be sure to engage NexGoal on social media as well! (See below for where to go)
- LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Always remember to keep a watchful eye on the content of different social networking platforms! This isn’t college anymore; employers don’t care how cool you look with that beer in your hand. Keep it professional! If you aren’t sure if it’s appropriate, it’s probably not. So keep it off your page! Recent surveys show that nearly 95% of all hiring managers check social media platforms during the engagement process.
Now get out there and network!
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