Building a fantastic network

Some 41 per cent of Brits found their most recent jobs through a personal network – a figure that has quadrupled from three jobs ago. By comparison, just eight per cent of people found their latest job through a recruiter. All signs point to your next career move coming through the people you know rather than the old-school recruitment methods of yesterday. This is great news; if you get it right, your network presents boundless opportunities for career progression in a way that traditional recruitment does not.

This is all about mutual back-scratching…

Being connected today couldn’t be easier. We’re all on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and we all have 24-hour access on smartphone, tablet or laptop (at times to the consternation of our nearest and dearest). But it’s how we maintain and improve these connections that ultimately makes the difference between meandering slowly up the mountain and striding purposefully to the top. An up-to-date LinkedIn profile with recent and relevant posts is a must. From here, joining in discussions, even initiating them, and striking up a dialogue with people in your field are great ways of connecting in a more in-depth way. Send your connections personal messages with information relevant to them and hopefully they’ll do the same for you – this is all about mutual back-scratching.

There’s no better way to start building an online network than meeting people face-to-face. Industry networking events, talks and conferences are the obvious places to start. Follow up post-event with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and a personalised message about how great it was to meet. Suggest meeting up for coffee with someone you’ve been following on Twitter. Equally, make sure you take the time to talk to your friends about what you do, and proactively ask them to hook you up with people they think might be interesting – you never know who is in their extended network.

This advice is not just for the actively hunting. According to LinkedIn, 80 per cent of people are open to a job offer at any one time. Even if you’re happy in your role and not looking to move anywhere soon, growing your network is critical. When you’re ready to move, just put out feelers to your now established network.

Some professional services firms have been known to pay up to £10,000 for an employee referral resulting in a successful hire…

And some companies will even reward you financially to put them in touch with the right people. Some professional services firms have been known to pay up to £10,000 for an employee referral resulting in a successful hire. With a strong network, you’ll be increasing your chances of being a great referrer – with some fantastic financial rewards to be gained. Companies like Job Bounties give you the chance to earn money by referring relevant friends for advertised jobs. Long term, investing time and energy into building your network can pay dividends in your and your friends’ career progression, and in improving your bank balance.

More articles like this in Career advice by HIJOBS.