How to build a network of contacts

Here is something most people should know – if you build a network of contacts you can significantly help reduce the time you spend looking for a new job – fact! When you think about it, it’s obvious. The more people you have helping you, the better chance you have of being successful. But how do you set about building your contact list?

How you can build a network of contacts

The easiest way is to start with a network most of us have – our extended family and friends! For various reasons they may not know your situation, so tell them. Inform former work colleagues, local shop and business owners that you are on the market. By doing this you have significantly increased the number of people helping you in your job search. If two heads are better than one, then how much better are lots of heads?

Is there a local job club in your area? Not only is it a convenient place to carry out your job search that usually provides use of facilities and resources; you can meet others who can offer you support, encouragement and further contacts.

Nowadays many local libraries offer internet access so that you can conduct an online job search as well as  providing job search resources.  Join your local library and you might meet others in the same situation who can help.

 Using Social Media  To Build A Network Of Contacts

One area that cannot be ignored is the influence of social media.  Most people have heard of Facebook and Twitter.  Many think that they are just sites to share news with family and friends.  The fact is more and more people are using social media tools for business and building a network of contacts.

Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Talent.me and referralkey.com are sites that offer you the chance to connect with people.  In simple terms allowing you to build a network of contacts.

The reach and influence of these sites cannot be under-estimated.  Here are 3 facts about Facebook that highlight this:

  1. Facebook has over 200 million active users.
  2. More than 100 million users log on at least once a day.
  3. The fastest-growing group of users are people aged 35 and older.

LinkedIn is a website for professional social networking.  The average user on LinkedIn is aged around 41. With over 200 million users, LinkedIn allows you to search and connect with others in your profession.  That means if you build a network of contacts on LinkedIn you increase the number of people who can provide job/business leads dramatically.

Join a Recruitment Agency or even better, several Employment Agencies. Accepting short term or temporary contracts is an excellent idea. Not only will this increase your chance of finding immediate paid work with the possibility of a permanent contract, it also serves to put your name around places that you may not have considered.  It is important to remain in contact with the agency.  Show them that you are truly willing to work and take the initiative.

Volunteering or carrying out unpaid work not only provides you with valuable experience and references, it is a great source of making contacts. If you volunteer for organisations and activities within your chosen field, you will increase your visibility and personal contacts. Many companies offer work trials or placement opportunities which can lead to an offer of employment if you impress.

Visit Job Fairs where employers are recruiting. Even if they have no current openings, they are in the know and could supply you with a name or a company that you can approach – in other words a lead! Take along copies of your CV / resume, cards with your details and hand them out.

Your goal is to get the job. If you build a network of contacts you will reduce job search stress and are much more likely to succeed.

Do you have any networking tips you have used to build a network of contacts that you would like to share or job search questions that you would like answered? Visit our forums or use the comments form below.