While looking online for your next job opportunity, many people get frustrated, exhausted from the search, or fed-up with the long application process. In today’s economy, searching online for job openings is an important part of the process. However, it is not the ONLY aspect that you should consider while seeking the next move in your career. In fact, many people underestimate the importance of personal networking during the job search.

Recently, I worked with a client that had casually met with a business acquaintance and mentioned that she may be looking for a different opportunity. The person told her to send her resume and cover letter to her—just in case there was a potential fit with the organization. Guess what? Less than a month later, my client was contacted because they are creating a new position and she may be the perfect. The job is not advertised nor will it be posted online. It is only because of the personal networking that my client has a chance at moving ahead in her career.

If you are interested in building your career opportunities, build and utilize your personal network. If your job search is not a secret, tell people that you are actively searching. Be specific and let them know the types of positions you are seeking. If you are a “stealth job seeker,” then tell only one or two trusted individuals that you are actively looking for a job so they can remember your information when a job arises.

Next, be sure to schedule time for personal networking. Make it a priority within your schedule. Attend local Business After Hours events, sign up for a workshop within your field, or invite a trusted colleague to lunch. Write down your personal networking goals. For example, “Attend one networking meeting and invite Bob Smith for lunch during February.” Make your goals as concrete as possible and assess them at the end of each month.

Finally, be prepared. While you don’t want to be pushy, keep a copy of your resume and your personal business card with you at all times. When meeting with business acquaintances and colleagues and they ask for your information, you will have it readily available. This will show that you are prepared, organized, and eager for that next job opportunity.

As someone that has built my business from the ground-up and utilized in-person networking greatly to accomplish this, please email me with any personal networking questions: heather@feather-communications.com. And, if you are ready to move forward with your job search, please visit our website.