How to get a job through networking

Networking isn’t just formal – find out how different networks of people can help you get your next job.

What you will learn

  • Why networking is useful to you if you want to progress within your career or make an impact in your job
  • Different ways to network
  • How to follow up after you’ve established a network connection

Why is networking useful?

Networking is the process of making professional contacts and sharing knowledge and information with them. It’s not just about making contact with people who can help you, it’s about building long-term relationships. Good networking works both ways, it’s not just about getting what you need.

Successful networking can help open up more opportunities for career development. It can be especially useful for jobseekers by helping you hear about job roles that aren’t advertised.

How can networking help you?

  • Advance your career by building your reputation
  • Get access to job opportunities that may not always be advertised
  • Get career advice and support from your peers
  • Develop long-lasting personal relationships with people who have similar goals

Different ways to network

There are many different ways to network, from conferences to building virtual networks on LinkedIn or other social media channels or even starting a conversation while out walking the dog. We’ve listed a few of the most common networking types below:

Get online

These days, the majority of networking is online. There are lots of business networking groups on social media that are great for making new contacts. Virtual networking is especially good if you have a fear of attending events in person. If this is the case you could also read our article on ways to overcome a fear of networking. There are lots of ways to make connections with people online, from attending a pre-arranged virtual event (you can usually find out about these events on social media channels like LinkedIn) to simply seeking out people in your industry and contacting them directly.

This can seem scary, but you’ll soon get used to it. Most people will be more open to this than you think and let’s face it, the worst thing that can happen is you don’t hear back.

Attend events

These are less common just now due to the current COVID-19 pandemic but there are still opportunities at events such as training courses or conferences. It may be the case that these take place online now but they are still a great opportunity to expand your contacts list and build networks. Quite often these events will have networking as part of the agenda, this makes it easier to start chatting as you know you are talking to like-minded people.

Try volunteering

Volunteering can be one of the best ways to network for a job. Volunteer projects are much more relaxed, meaning you can meet new people and build connections without the pressure some people feel at networking events.

You can also pretty much guarantee a shared interest with the other people there because you are all likely interested in the organisation or the cause you are volunteering for.

Think about your personal network

Take a minute to think about your family and friends. They each have connections of their own and the chances are they know someone you should connect with.

Start having conversations with them about your career. Let them know if you’re looking for a new job or looking for someone to help you advance your career. You never know who they might know, or who one of their contacts might be able to put you in touch with.

Also think about every-day situations such as the school run or walking the dog. If you’re not sure how to approach it, why not start by starting a conversation about your job or job search – you never know what might come from it.

How to start

Approaching strangers, making small talk or telling them about yourself can seem daunting at first but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Whether you’re meeting in person or online it’s good to start with some questions about them and their role:

  • What do you do?
  • How long have you been doing this job?
  • How did you get started?
  • What are you working on right now?
  • What’s your favourite part of the job?

How to follow up

Following up is a crucial part of networking. If you’ve spoken to someone you’d like to continue to network with, make sure you exchange information. You should then follow up within 48 hours of meeting. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just a quick email thanking them for their time. Make sure you mention a conversation from the event to help remind them who you are.

Remember to connect on LinkedIn too. This will establish and strengthen your connection further.

Some other articles you may find helpful

How to network

Read our beginners guide to networking and discover ways to reach out today.

How to follow up after making a network contact

Use our guide to follow up with people you meet while networking.

Top 10 ways to overcome a fear of networking

Reaching out and presenting your best self to new people can feel daunting. But there are ways to help you prepare to put your best foot forward.