If you are looking for a job, you probably feel you have already exhausted all your job hunting knowledge. What many job hunters don’t realize is that along the way you create a network of contacts; business relationships that may be able to offer some help in your job search. The power of networking is a valuable thing, and if done right, you can stand to gain exactly what it is you’re looking for. WorkSource has 3 ways to reach out to your business contacts regarding potential employment.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool—but be careful!

When thinking about who you could reach out too, it’s easy to forget about all the ways in which you are “connected.” Yes, past employers or colleagues count, but so too do your college classmates and even high school contacts. If you’ve ever consulted or volunteered for an organization, helped set up a charity event, or participated in grass roots work—all of that leads to contacts you can call upon. LinkedIn is a great way to connect to these individuals, which then spider webs out, linking you to other contacts with whom you share interests. Think of LinkedIn as a major artery for all business information and communication. But, just as this artery will serve you well in inquiring about jobs, it can also provide information to current employers. You need to be mindful of who you are connected to, and if you are linked to any current colleagues or bosses, then it may very well get back to them that you are on the market for a new job. Remember, someone you know knows someone else, who knows someone else. That is how LinkedIn works. Chose who you connect with carefully. If you think that tapping a LinkedIn network may lead back to your boss, then suggest casually that you would like to talk with them off line or in person and leave the “why” out.

Don’t just connect to connect.

People these days use social media for just about everything—including job searching. Whether Facebook or LinkedIn, many these days have at least one of these accounts and utilize it to help them find a job. When connecting to someone in order to inquire about a job, make sure you know something about them and vice versa. Reaching the golden power number of “600” contacts on LinkedIn may look great on paper, but if you don’t know anything about most of them or don’t have some kind of relationship established, then it doesn’t mean as much when you inquire about potential work. Remember what it is you’re asking them to do; step into their shoes. If it were you and someone was asking you for a job, would you hire them or open the door if you knew nothing about their skills or work commitment? When connecting to a business professional, think about building that relationship over time, so that in the future, if an opportunity presents itself, then you will feel confident in asking them to open that door.

Be professional at all times.

Take a deep breath, take a step back, and don’t allow eagerness to compromise your professionalism. Many times, qualified, professional individuals cross that line, and turn themselves into their own worst enemy, sabotaging their own best chances. Don’t turn your network against you. Once the interview is scheduled, you’re done networking. Your network is there to help open the door for you, but the rest is up to you. Don’t ask more of them than is professionally expected. It’s up to you to be impressive and win the job of your own merits and skills.

WorkSource, a premier staffing agency, knows how important it is to build a professional network. We offer many tools to job seekers to help them utilize social media the right way and to give them their best chances at finding a great career. Contact our team at WorkSource and find out how we can help you look for your new career.

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