It’s who you know that gets you a job, and what you know that let’s you keep it. We’ve all heard some version of this old proverb. Those of us who’ve dived into the job market know that it’s often truer than we wish it was. Whether it’s a family friend who hires you for an internship, or an old college classmate who tells you about an opening in his office, the people in our network are instrumental for helping us get ahead.
If you want to increase your network, here are three things you should start doing immediately.
Tip #1: Offer to Help (It Makes People Like You)
One of the best ways to go from a face in the crowd to someone’s new best friend is to offer some form of help, free of charge. If you run a blog, for example, then reaching out to people in the industry you cover and offering coverage is a good way to get noticed. If you’re an artist, then offering to help a local convention design their banners or mascot can make you the go-to person the next time that organization has work. Endear yourself to other people, show them you are willing to work, and that will benefit you in the long run.
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Tip #2: Send Thank You Notes
Remember when you were a kid, and your parents made you write thank you noted to your relatives who sent you birthday presents? That skill comes in handy when expanding your network.
Always send a card thanking someone for an opportunity, or as a follow-up. It makes you stick out in their mind, and sometimes that’s all it takes for you to get the callback when the next round of interviews happens, or a new position opens up.
Tip #3: Remember, Online is Real Life
There’s a strange belief that what happens on the Internet isn’t real, and it doesn’t affect your offline life. This idea is slowly dying out, though, because so much of what we do online is our lives. We meet people, we keep in contact, and many people work through the Internet.
As such, the contacts you make online matter. Whether it’s in your social media groups, on forums, or elsewhere, any community you can become a part of increases your network. Also, though, the things you say and do online reflect who you are. It isn’t hard to find information about someone, so remember that what you say today might be on a hiring manager’s desk tomorrow.