The start of a new year gives you the opportunity to jumpstart your career development. How do you accomplish this? Networking, of course! By connecting with people, you can find hidden possibilities and increase your chances of landing your ideal position. That makes networking the best way to find your next job.

One study suggested that up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking connections. This is on the high end of estimates, but even low-end projects put the number above 70%. No matter what numbers you find most credible, it’s clear that networking gives you the best entry point for most organizations.

It’s not just a matter of increasing your odds of landing jobs. Without networking, you might not even know about certain positions. One survey showed that 80% of jobs never receive public advertising, meaning you can only find them through connections.

It should be obvious by now that networking gives you the best chance to advance your career. But how do you do it well? Here are a few tips that will make sure networking is the way you find your next job:

Always Be Networking

When you need it, a broad professional network can help you land the perfect opportunity. However, you can’t start from scratch at the crucial moment. You need to have the network in place to start with.

Actively expand your network now. (When you need a new job, it will be too late.) The critical work has to be done ahead of time. As such, keep nurturing your professional connections. The effort will pay off when the time comes.

Routinely Check-In with Your Contacts

Imagine the scene: You haven’t heard from a coworker for years. Then, all of a sudden, they reach out to you for help finding a job. How likely are you to exert yourself?

Now, consider how your attitude would be different if you had regular contact with them over the years. Those occasional exchanges – holiday greetings, periodic text exchanges, intermittent email discussions – make a huge difference. Suddenly, you’re more motivated to give your best effort.

Seek Guidance

How do you connect with the people in your network? That can be a tricky question. It’s not always clear what to say or how to approach someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

However, there’s an easy way to spark a conversation: seek out guidance. Asking for advice provides an excellent way to engage your network. You complement your contact by soliciting their expertise. At the same time, you create a conversation centered around your career – without directly imploring for help.

Offer to Help

Networking goes both ways. Sure, you get assistance in your time of need. But you earn this help by giving aid to others when they require a leg up.

If you get stingy with your efforts when others need it, you might get a cold reception when your time comes. As such, aggressively offer help when people in your network are searching for opportunities. They’ll remember your interest when you need a boost down the road.

Your personal network might not be wide enough to find the perfect opportunity. Don’t worry. You can supplement your connections with professional assistance. Partnering with a strong recruiting firm, like PrideStaff, is like tapping into a massive web of corporate connections.

Contact PrideStaff Bend today to find the ideal placement for you.

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