Networking is not only for a job seeker. Networking is building relationships that need to be ongoing and need to be maintained. Starting to network and building your network is important to do at any time and it's never too late to start. I would encourage everyone to start as quickly as they can, to start having those conversations and building those relationships. Keep it light when it comes to networking. It's asking questions, offering up help and just maintaining that communication with your network.
Networking is critical to job search success
Networking is the most successful strategy in the job search today, so making sure that you're engaging in some activities around networking is extremely important. You can be missing a lot of opportunities if you're relying solely on just traditional job search methods. And statistics vary, but depending on the source, it's about 60% to 80% of jobs landed are through networking, so it remains a very important strategy in one's job search.
Staying connected with your network, already your existing network, is also important, maintaining those relationships. This could simply be going to a coffee shop, inviting someone to get together, talk about what's going on in someone's job search or just getting an update, how things are going in general. It's also continuing to stay connected through a customized message. That could be on LinkedIn, that may be an email. Also considering commenting on a blog or an article, just to have that visibility of still being present and offering support and ideas, as well as just sending out a congratulation on someone's recent win.
Thought leaders are going to be the experts in the industry, great people to follow, great people to reach out to and be connected. There's a lot of information that thought leaders can share, whether that's industry-related expertise, that could be different common trends, that could be forecasted details around the industry or different positions within that industry...as a job seeker, those targets that you're looking at. It helps to have a good understanding and a clear picture of what those hurdles and potential challenges may look like, as well as give you some ammunition in conversations during the interview process.