How to Tap into Your Network to Land Your Next Assignment


When looking for a new job opportunity, candidates sometimes overthink certain aspects of the search process. After all, dream opportunities rarely fall into one’s lap. While a successful job search often requires a great deal of time and work, there are ways to optimize the process to make the most of any efforts made. For example, utilizing your network is a great way to find new or upcoming positions that may not be posted elsewhere.


One of the best ways to learn about opportunities is to turn to the people that you know. While it might be tempting to begin by firing off an email to everyone you know, an effective job search often requires a little more strategy. The following tips can help job seekers plan ahead and increase their odds of landing an ideal job through a network connection.


Examine your contacts. Consider prior coworkers, professional associates and social networks as sources of intel. You may even want to review the contacts in your cell phone or email address book. At this stage in the process, avoid reaching out to individuals. Instead, use this as an opportunity to examine all of your options.


Create a plan that leverages the professional community you have built and enables you to further expand your reach. Utilize metrics to hold yourself accountable. For example, commit to making X number of social posts or shares, and Y number of new connections a week. It’s also extremely important to be tactful when reaching out to people. For example, avoid contacting people that you haven’t kept in touch with and immediately asking for assistance. When trying to grow your network, do your research ahead of time and personalize any messages requesting a connection.


Ensure that your LinkedIn account is updated and tailored to the type of opportunities that you are interested in pursuing. You want your current contacts to be aware of your experiences, skills and interests as you begin the process. Remember, your profile is not a duplication of your resume. It’s an opportunity to creatively expand upon your resume to showcase your professional persona. After your profile is up-to-date, follow organizations, groups and individuals of interest. Note questions you have about the businesses, highlights that pique your interest and any opportunities that are available. This will help you as you work on expanding your network down the road.

Stay active (and top of mind with contacts and potential hiring managers) by creating posts, making comments and sharing content. This will help showcase your knowledge and interests. Once you have done adequate research and are at a point where you are ready to expand your network, consider looking for people who are first or second-level contacts as well as those who have previously or still work at companies of interest. When you reach out to individuals, make sure to personalize the message. It will greatly increase the likelihood that they accept your connect request.


Facebook Groups that are local or industry-specific can be a surprisingly valuable resource. Depending on the group, it may allow users to share jobs, create posts and even send direct messages to other members. Essentially, it could enable you to grow your network of professional contacts and potentially provide you with access to countless job opportunities.


A great way to stay in touch with current contacts and grow your professional network is to attend industry events. Go to each event with a plan in mind. Rehearse your elevator speech and have target contacts in mind. If the conversation goes beyond pleasantries, avoid doing the majority of the talking. Ask questions, (really) listen when they answer and offer your knowledge or assistance if possible. Imparting a sliver of knowledge or helping them solve a problem will help you make a memorable, positive impression. Exchange information and make sure to follow up.


Even if you’re not currently looking for work, it’s still important to stay in touch with the people in your network. After all, you never know when you may decide to seek out a new career challenge. Help your contacts whenever possible. They will be far more likely to return the favor, should you ever need assistance in your professional life.


When you work with a firm like RealStreet, our network is your network. We know the decision-makers and have access to some of the best jobs in the industry. If you’re ready to take the next step in your architecture, engineering or construction career, take a look at the opportunities on our job board and apply today!

After a string of failures trying to find the right person on our own, RealStreet came through for us. The first person they recommended was the person we’d been looking for all along. It doesn’t get better than that.

Joshua A. Woolley

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