Building a Job Referral Network
The average job seeker finds themself ready to begin the hunt for a new position and THEN determines they must lean on their personal network as a resource. But the best time to build that network isn’t when you need a job. You should be cultivating those relationships while you’re employed.
Even if you’re happy in your job, you never know when you might need to make a change. That’s why you should start making those connections now, both professionally and personally, so you have an extensive group of contacts to lean on when it’s time to make a change. Today on the blog we’ve got some tips for how to build that personal Rolodex today…before you need it.
Most towns have a local Chamber of Commerce or networking group for professionals. Many of these are focused on small business owners looking to promote their local businesses, but if you’re in between jobs they can be a great place to find freelance or contract work that can turn into a full-time role. Or you could make new contacts who can connect you with potential employers outside of the group. While your goal may not be to start your own business, don’t discount the value that meeting other professionals (even those outside of your industry) can provide–you never know where these new connections may lead.
MeetUp & Facebook Groups
If you want to make professional connections in your industry, MeetUp and Facebook groups can be a starting point. On MeetUp, you can find groups for anything from running to writing, allowing you to connect with other professionals in your industry either to grow as a thought leader or build friendships that could lead to a job referral down the road.
Facebook groups are generally more casual, but even your town Facebook page could provide a lead or connection to business owners looking to hire a professional in your field.
Local Sports Leagues
When you’re building a network before you need a job you should think of every relationship as a networking opportunity. That means even fun local activities like your local soccer or volleyball league can be the best place to not only build friendships but also learn about local companies. Down the line, if you need a job, you’ll have several people to call who might know of an opportunity.
As a professional, you should spend your social media time building your LinkedIn profile and influence on the platform. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to stay on top of trends and become a thought leader in your industry by publishing your own articles on the platform.
You can also keep up with previous coworkers, alumni from your school, and managers at your dream job by following and engaging with their content.
Don’t forget to congratulate your current and former coworkers on any milestones, like years at the company or where they get a new job.
Recruiters also spend time on LinkedIn, and the more active your profile remains, the better they can find positions that meet your goals and skills.
Don’t just follow along online with the careers of your former coworkers, reach out to them periodically for coffee or lunch to keep the relationship intact. Of course, you never want to burn any bridges, and maintaining relationships helps keep that communication open.
These coworkers can be a great resource in the future. If they happen to get a job at your dream company, you can reach out to them about job openings. Or they might think of you when a new position opens up in their department.
Don’t forget it’s a small world. Whether you leverage a connection or not, you might end up working with them again down the road.
Don’t forget to utilize your school’s alumni network in your city when you need a new job. One obvious benefit is that previous graduates know the program and can make assumptions about your skills based on that.
These groups are also easy to get involved with before the job hunt, so you’ve already built those trusted relationships when the time comes to move on from your current role.
Looking for a new job? Need to speed up the networking process? Our expert recruiters already have the connections you need to find the perfect job to meet your qualifications. Connect with us today to get started.