There is rarely a common piece of job searching advice that doesn’t touch upon the importance of networking.
How many times have you heard that “so and so got the job through his uncle’s contact” or “my roommate passed her resume along to an old teacher and scored an interview?” While networking may not be the sole factor in getting your shot at various coveted careers in finance, it can play a key role in helping you further your job search, meet people who can help you on your journey and make new friends. And knowing how to build a strong professional network is crucial to expanding your social circle and exponentially increasing your exposure to new career opportunities.
Establishing a professional network can seem difficult initially, but you may have more networking opportunities than you think. Here are a few small steps that can help you capitalize on these connections and make progress towards creating your own network of finance professionals.
1. Start with who you know
Some people may be shy about asking friends and family members if they know of anyone who is hiring or have a relationship with someone at their dream company. However, now is not the time to be passive. Job competition is fierce, and if you don’t take the reins on your job prospects, someone else will. Most people are eager and happy to help others realize their career aspirations, so let go of the fear that you may be burdening them by asking. In addition, many hiring managers may not be getting the response they anticipated about a posting or failed to advertise the job properly, leaving them anxious to find talent to fill the gap. By having your name introduced by a trusted source, they might just find the candidate they are looking for.
2. Turn to social media
Both employers and job seekers are leveraging social media at higher frequencies to advertise, respond and show interest in jobs, making it important to jump on this bandwagon or risk missing out on opportunities. Using a respected service, such as OneWire, to post your resume and make contacts with employers can help you seek out opportunities you may not have realized existed and also learn more about various finance companies in your area. Furthermore, many hiring managers may not choose to post their jobs directly online and instead rely on a talent agency to put them in contact with qualified applicants.
3. Attend networking events
Many companies showcase their available positions at organized conventions and other networking opportunities. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get your name on their radar. After all, they are essentially coming to you! Your job is to show up (dress professionally in business attire, of course) and communicate to companies why you would make a strong contribution to their company. It’s not uncommon for participants to get interviews or even walk away with jobs at these events, so don’t turn your back on these opportunities.
4. Be a more social person
When you’re busy trying to find a job, you may surround yourself with friends and family and spend the rest of your time seeking out positions. However, in order to expand your network, you have to meet more people. Suspend your job search for a weekend, go out with friends and meet some new people. By simply making new contacts, you are already increasing your chances of expanding your personal and professional horizons. All it can take are a few words at the gym or in an elevator to build a great new relationship.