Building Your Network During a Job Search

In the dynamic landscape of job hunting, where connections often hold the key to unlocking opportunities, cultivating a robust professional network can be helpful in building a path to your dream career. Whether you’re navigating a career transition, exploring new industries, or simply seeking advancement within your field, the significance of networking cannot be overstated.

In this blog, we will provide a few helpful tips in building your network, exploring strategies, insights, and actionable steps to create meaningful connections.

Leverage Social Media

In today’s digital age, social media platforms serve as powerful tools for expanding your professional network and enhancing your job search efforts. By strategically leveraging platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook, you can connect with industry professionals, join relevant groups and discussions, and showcase your expertise and accomplishments. Engaging thoughtfully and authentically on social media not only increases your visibility but also opens doors to valuable opportunities and insights that can accelerate your career journey.

Participate in Online Activities

Engaging in online activities such as webinars, virtual networking events, and industry-specific forums is an invaluable strategy for expanding your professional network during a job search. These virtual gatherings provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, gain insights from industry experts, and showcase your skills and expertise. By actively participating in online activities, you not only stay abreast of industry trends but you also position yourself as a proactive and engaged professional, making you more attractive to potential employers.

Focus On Your Industry

While networking once meant attending conferences and passing out and collecting as many business cards as possible, current networking strategies concentrate on people with whom you relate and can potentially influence your career or business. If you focus on win-win situations in which you both benefit, you can ensure that your interactions foster goodwill and avoid any perception of exploitation of others.

Help Others

A cornerstone of effective networking during a job search is the ethos of reciprocity—by offering assistance and support to others in your network, you not only cultivate stronger relationships but also position yourself as a valuable and reliable resource. Pay it forward by offering your support and guidance to others by sharing your expertise. Whether it’s sharing job leads, providing referrals, or offering advice and mentorship, lending a helping hand demonstrates your commitment to the success of your professional community.

Maintain Authentic Connections

When you converse with other workplace professionals, maintain the exact tone you’d use if you were meeting in person. Ideally, don’t wait until you need them to reach out to former coworkers. Check in regularly, noting colleagues’ promotions, posts, and awards. Then, when you begin a job search, those connections you fostered will be more willing to help you out than if you’ve previously ignored them.

In Summary

Job hunting is more than just submitting resumes—it’s about building connections and having a solid network to lean on. By following the tips we’ve covered—like using social media smartly, joining online events, focusing on your industry, and helping others out—you’re not just looking out for yourself but also creating a supportive community. Networking isn’t just about what you can get; it’s about giving back too. So, invest in your network with intentionality and authenticity, and watch as opportunities unfold on your path to acquiring the job you desire.

How to Start a Conversation With Anybody Regardless of the Situation

What happens if there is somebody you want to meet, and you have absolutely no connection with them? How do you approach them and make the critical first move in meeting them?

Common sense and basic communication skills tell you the first thing you should do is seek out something you two have in common, something you can both initially bond over and continue to discuss. Even if you don’t know anything about the person, you can easily find common ground you share.

As luck has it, you already have a connection with everybody in the world, you just haven’t realized it yet. It’s something that everyone has in common: failure. Failures and learning lessons are the one life event that has been universally experienced, and thus, can be your link to conversing with complete strangers.

So, how do you go about capitalizing on that connection? Here’s an example of how an encounter could play out using this technique.

The first step is to approach the person and comment on something you both observed or experienced. For instance, if you are at a business meeting and see somebody you want to meet, approach them during a break and ask something innocent, such as “So, did you understand ______?” (Fill in the blank with some aspect of the meeting.) The idea is to ask an open-ended question and get a response from them.

After they’ve responded, keep them engaged by casually bringing up one of your failure stories. Here’s an example of how the exchange could go. (Note: The keys to this conversation starter are to speak casually and let everything flow. This isn’t a script. Your approach should match your personality and the conditions of the situation.)

  • You: “So were you able to grasp everything that last speaker went over?”
  • Them: “For the most part, yeah.”  (If they continue the conversation, great. But if not, here’s where you step back in.)
  • You: “There were a few things I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. But I can’t fault the speaker. I once gave a presentation that I thought would resonate with the audience, but I ended up losing them early on because I spent too much time answering one person’s question, which went way off topic into an area I wasn’t familiar enough with. It was a good life lesson though. Now I make a conscious effort to stick to my outline, even if it means politely corralling questions back towards the subject matter.”

This is the point where you wait for their response. What they say next is your opportunity to connect with them. The worst thing they could do is not say anything and walk away. Very few people are going to do that. Most people are going to ask a question, or give some other reaction to your story. And that allows you to continue the conversation.

So go ahead and break the ice, and then don’t be afraid to reveal a past learning experience. The person you are speaking might be a little surprised by your story, but they will also find you genuine and open. And you never know – they could end up becoming the most influential person in your network.

Improve Your Networking Skills During the Holidays

The holidays are a time of celebration and togetherness with friends and family members coming together to share gratitude, goodwill, and cheer. It’s also when many people take some time out from their hectic schedules to reconnect with loved ones. And while it’s tempting to retreat into our own private cocoons for the duration of the season, we should also make sure that we’re not isolating ourselves so much that we miss out on opportunities to build new relationships or strengthen old ones. To help you embrace the holiday season and walk away with more than just happy memories, here are five tips on how you can better your networking skills during the holidays:

Make an Effort to Engage

We’re so busy in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life that we often forget that it’s our efforts that make networking opportunities happen. We may be a bit protective of our time, but if you want to get more out of your social interactions you have to put yourself out there. Starting off with an informal greeting will help break the ice and establish rapport with others. Asking someone how they are doing or if they have any special plans during the holidays will show you have a genuine interest in them before you get into any conversations related to business.

Pay Attention to Body Language

People tend to focus on their families during the holidays so it’s important to remember that not everyone may respond positively when you try to connect with them on business matters. Taking note of a person’s body language may help you get a feel for how open they are to conversation. Sometimes people will just not be interested in chatting, but if they do happen to be open for conversation, embrace the opportunity. And don’t forget to be mindful of your own body language. People gravitate towards confidence, not nervousness or uncertainty.

Dress for Success

Holiday parties tend to be more dressy than a dinner with friends on a Tuesday night. Put away your jeans and sneakers and opt for a festive dress or tie. Looking your best will also help you feel more confident in social settings and give off the impression that you are there to socialize.

Stay Connected Via Email and Phone Calls

One of the best ways to stay connected with your network is by regularly checking in over email or with phone calls. Consider sending your connections a “happy holidays” email this year so that you’ll be on their minds. By keeping communication channels open, there’s always a chance a connection could reach out to you with a business opportunity or question during the holidays or beyond.


Networking comes down to believing in yourself and your abilities. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, knowing that while it may not always be easy, it could pay off in the future. Networking isn’t easy but it is worth it. The holidays are a great time to grow your business and expand your social circle, so take advantage of the opportunities available to you.

How to Dress for a Networking Event

Networking events present great opportunities to meet new people and expand your professional network, regardless of whether you are new to your industry or an established name. But deciding what to wear to a networking event can be difficult. If you dress too casually, you risk coming across as unprofessional or sloppy. On the other hand, if your outfit looks like you just came from a board meeting, you could be seen as stuffy or unapproachable.

Finding a way to balance two completely different styles can seem impossible, but it’s essential when you want to leave others with a great impression. Below are a few ideas to help you strike that perfect balance.

1. Plan ahead.

We’ve all done it: You wait until the last minute to pick an outfit, and then realize you’re missing a piece, or part of it isn’t clean. Since every networking event has the potential to change your career, you owe it to yourself to be prepared. If possible, plan your outfit at least a week before the event. You might realize that you don’t have the right color tie or shoes, so this buffer time will give you some breathing room to find what you need. (Bonus tip: Choose a backup outfit in case something comes up and you need to go to plan B.)

2. Consider L.O.T.S.

When planning your outfit you’ll want to factor in several key aspects of the event: Location, Occasion, Time, and Season. For example, a winter evening gala at the Ritz? Tuxedos for men; dresses for women (and layering for everyone). A summer daytime retirement BBQ at the park? Think lightweight and airy, such as shorts and a casual button down for men; sundress for women. A spring morning mixer at the vineyard? Outdoor casual.

Knowing those four details will help narrow down your options while ensuring that you’re properly prepared.

3. Find your fit.

Your outfit might consist of several well-fitting pieces, but all it takes is one thing to ruin your entire look. (Exhibit A: blazer with sleeves too short.)

To nail that perfect fit, make sure that nothing restricts your movements. Test it out by walking around in it, touching your toes, raising your arms over your head, and twisting your torso. If you’re able to do all of that without struggling, it passes the test.

Next, walk over to your full-length mirror. Do any pieces look baggy? Check the closet for substitutes that might work better.

Lastly, do you feel good with your look? Being uncomfortable at an event can affect your confidence, mood, and body language — so make sure that you’re happy with your look before leaving the house.

4. Keep it simple.

While your attire can certainly help you make the right impression, you want your personality and social skills to be what people remember. Avoid wearing anything that might distract others from your conversation, such as flashy jewelry, bright colors, or bold patterns. When it comes to networking events, safe and traditional > avant-garde.

5. Don’t overthink it.

There’s a lot to consider, and a lot on the line. But if you plan ahead, properly prepare, and consider all the event details — you’ll feel less stressed, and more confident about your choices.

If, after all of that, you’re still feeling unsure or overwhelmed, think about clothing brands that market business casual fashion and try replicating one of their looks with items you already own. Need visual examples? Run a Google image search for your type of event. (Example: “summer cocktail attire for women”.)

Creating a Stellar LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn was created with the goal of connecting professionals through a network of social media profiles. Today, LinkedIn boasts over 500 million members worldwide and has become the go-to networking site for professionals looking to advance their careers.

Creating a professional profile on LinkedIn isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Follow these steps to create a powerful profile that will help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Start with your headline.

You need to be able to capture someone’s interest within the first couple of sentences. Think about the headlines that get shared on Facebook or Twitter. They tend to be short and sweet, but still grab attention. Make sure you use keywords that match the type of person you’re trying to attract. Use words that describe who you are and what you do.

2. Craft an interesting summary.

Your summary should tell people why they should care about you. It’s where you introduce yourself and what makes you different from others who may apply for the same job. Include keywords that match the job description.

3. Highlight your experience.

Your profile should include at least three pieces of information: your education, skills, and experience. For each section, think about what differentiates you from others.

4. Put specific accomplishments under past jobs.

The best way to show off your accomplishments is by listing them under past jobs. For example, “I worked at XYZ Company for three years as a product manager” or “I was the lead developer on project X for two years.” This makes it easy for recruiters to see what skills you have and what projects you’ve worked on.

5. Use a professional photo.

A professional photo can really set you apart from the competition, and is one of the most important things you can include in your profile. Avoid using casual non-professional photos; you don’t want that pic from last month’s toga party to be the first thing a recruiter sees.

6. Keep it simple.

People who look at profiles spend less than two seconds scanning them before moving on to the next one. So it’s important not to over-complicate your profile. Use bullet points to break down key information into bite-sized chunks. Avoid adding too many photos to your page, as they take up space and people don’t have time to click through them all. Instead, use a few high-quality images that speak for themselves.

7. Be honest and genuine.

The best way to attract new connections is by being yourself. Don’t try to fake it—you won’t fool anyone. Instead, focus on building relationships based on mutual interests and values.

8. Start making connections.

The first step is to connect with people who share similar interests. One of the easiest ways to do that is by joining groups related to your industry. Groups are very important part of LinkedIn—they can be a valuable source of industry information (everything from news to sales leads) while providing you with a great opportunity to expand your network. Lastly, don’t forget to ask your personal contacts to follow you on LinkedIn once your profile is complete.


These suggestions are just a few helpful tips on creating a great LinkedIn profile. It can help to have a friend or two review it for spelling, grammar, and helpful suggestions. After you finalize it, make sure that you revisit it frequently to update any new accomplishments, skills, or experiences.

Common Networking Mistakes & How to Fix Them

It is said that the most connected people are often found to be the most successful. Networking is one of the best ways to make those connections, but quality networking takes time and effort. While you may not feel comfortable with it, or don’t think you are great at it, just know that it is a learning process. Let’s look at a few of the common networking mistakes and how to fix them.

1. You don’t actively listen to others.

Passively nodding to show that you are listening isn’t enough to build a networking connection. Active listening involves stimulating the speaker and conversation. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t allow yourself to disengage from the conversation, even if you are attending a crowded networking event.
  • Maintain eye contact and ask engaging follow-up questions. This can show your genuine interest and is said to help you be more memorable.
  • Focus on finding things in common to build strong, lasting relationships.
  • Practice mindfulness so that you can be aware if you are talking too much about yourself.

2. You only network while you’re job hunting.

Networking should be a continuous process throughout your career. Many people are wary of, and less likely to connect with those who only network during a job hunt. By starting early, even while happily employed, those relationships will be readily available when you do need them. The longer you network, the more time you have to build stronger relationships. This can lead to new opportunities faster, and less urgency in between jobs.

3. You don’t offer help in return.

The concept of networking requires involvement from both parties. Brushing off requests for assistance / favors can lead to impressions of selfishness. And when the time arrives that you need the help, you might find yourself empty-handed. Instead, help when and where you can. Even if you don’t have the answers or skills requested by a colleague, at least try to point them in the direction that they need or help them brainstorm some creative solutions.

Networking doesn’t have to be as daunting as it can appear. Don’t forget that everyone starts somewhere. Start fine-tuning your networking skills today.