When you're on the hunt for a new role, networking offers serious value. Here’s how, why and where to schmooze.

Like it or not, the first people that hiring agents and staff members think of when a role is up for grabs are the people they already know. Most people get to know others in their industry at various networking events and opportunities.

While the term ‘schmoozing’ has a mildly unpleasant ring to it, networking is really all about building great relationships. The best part about it is that it can often lead to friendship, mentoring opportunities or new job prospects, all of which are positive outcomes.

Where is it best to network? 
You’ll be surprised at the number of opportunities out there once you start looking. Start with events within your current workplace, then begin to look outwards by checking out events connected to your industry such as:
• Alumni associations
• Conferences, trade shows and public meetings
• Charity and volunteer events
• Sports and other similar events
• Tweet ups (meeting in the digital arena, such as on social media platforms)

Once you’ve got the event sorted out, make sure you’re prepared by reading up on the topic the event is centred around. If it’s a conference on a specific topic, don’t go in cold, prepare some topical insights that you can use in conversation. 

Keep the work talk to a minimum if you’re in a non-industry environment, such as a corporate triathlon or another sports event. In this case, you’re just there to build relationships with like-minded people.

Also consider:
What’s your intro?
As silly as it sounds, practice your introduction before you arrive. Make sure it is short and concise and gives a good idea of what you do.

Pack business cards
Even in a highly digital age, there is still nothing easier than a business card for sharing details. Don’t be that person who never carries cards.

Think quality, not quantity
The idea is not to meet everybody in the room – this is not a speed-networking event (although these do exist, and can be fun!). Instead, try to have quality conversations with four or five people.

Be social
Join LinkedIn groups and connect with people you have met through Facebook and Twitter etc. This can help to keep you top of mind with your new contacts.

Follow up
Don’t waste a great conversation. Stay in touch but keep your communications short and sweet. You’ll have a new industry contact and possibly a new friend. Plus, more than 60% of jobs are found and filled through networking, so you’re also future-proofing your career.

Your Randstad recruitment specialist can offer valuable advice throughout the course of your job hunt, so don't hesitate to get in touch.