Do you know the secret behind successful networking?
Job listings are up by 10% says ExecuNet, one of the leading executive and leadership online resources. Maybe like thousands of other executives you refreshed your career documents and online profiles in January in hopes of tapping into the opportunities that become available in the first quarter of the year.

How are things going for you in the second quarter of the year?

  • Have recruiters and hiring managers reached out to you?

  • Have you been invited to interview with a few choice companies in your target market?

  • Do you have an offer or two to consider? If not, what do you think the roadblock is in your path?

  • Most everyone at one time or another experiences challenges in their job search. It is rare that an executive sails through his or her career without a hiccup or two along the way. So if you are currently experiencing a few challenges in your job search, understand that it’s a common occurrence for many.

    The most powerful and effective solution to job search challenges is PEOPLE. People are involved at every stage of an executive’s job search. Not connecting or networking with the right people is where some executives fail during job search. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you connected to recruiters that hire for your industry?

  • Do you have an abundance of people in your network that you can contact to introduce you to influencers in your industry – Or perhaps know about key positions in your target market?

  • Are you connected to the right people within a potential company?

  • Networking is more than just attending a local “meet and greet” or “liking” someone’s post online. It is about actively developing and cultivating your network of people on an ongoing basis – not sending an invite to connect and forgetting about them.

    Many job seekers think networking means alerting your network that you want a new job. It’s much more than that. Networking is about building and maintaining ongoing/active relationships with the people you already know to help connect you to the people who will help you land your next career opportunity – and then maintaining those new relationships.

    How to Use Your Network

    There are a few ways to use your network to find a new opportunity. The first is to contact specific people in your network — or your entire network — and let them know you are looking for ideas, information, advice, and contacts/referrals.

    A more targeted approach is to identify the specific information or advice you need, and then contact people who are in a position to help you with that.

    For example, if you see an advertised opening for a position, go through your network and see who might be able to provide you with access to the hiring manager (or someone else who works at the company), information about that specific industry (if unknown to you) or company, or information about the specific position you’re seeking and the people you’d be reporting to/working with – whatever they may know.

    LinkedIn is a great tool to help you find those people/companies/alumni and more. LinkedIn’s Advance Search features provide key filters so you can drill down to the exact people, companies, or alumni you are looking for. LinkedIn is one of the most underutilized job search tools; become familiar with its many features and groups to start connecting with key people.

    You can also use your network contact to make an introduction to a hiring manager — either asking them to pass along your resume to that individual, introducing you directly, or allowing you to use their name when making an initial contact.

    Heed the advice of author and networking pro Harvey Mackey: “If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve met over a lifetime, I’d say it is the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts. A network replaces the weakness of the individual with the strength of a support system. You don’t have to know everything as long as you know the people who do.”