How to Network Your Way to a Standout Resume

by Guest Author, Miles Oliver

Your resume is one of the most important tools for advancing your career. When done well, it communicates your value efficiently to potential employers and collaborators. But there are also ways to utilize it beyond simply sending it with applications. Leveraging networking opportunities can boost your resume on multiple levels.

Sure, many people hate the idea of networking. Yet, your willingness to reach out to others can open up opportunities for experiences that look great on your CV. A diverse network also means your resume can reach a wider range of employers and project coordinators who can help your career prospects. Let’s look at some of the ways you can network your way to a standout resume.

Take a Multifaceted Approach

One of the methods to network in a way that helps your resume stand out is to take a multifaceted approach. Avoid simply relying on a single method of connecting with potential network members. By incorporating a combination of online groups, events, and colleague referrals, you’re likely to gain a more diverse and powerful range of connections that can lead to opportunities that strengthen your resume. You’re not limiting yourself just to those professionals who are active in a single type of networking space.

This certainly involves dedicating time to research opportunities. You could:

  • Explore various online professional groups on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn. Look for groups that are dedicated to your industry, your area of professional expertise, and even the location where you want to work.
  • Attend both online and in-person conventions for your industry or for the sectors you want to target. This exposes you to fellow professionals from across the country and, in some circumstances, the globe.
  • In the workplace, seek cross-departmental and cross-seniority relationships. Different people in your organization will have alternative perspectives, resources, ideas, and relationships.

Successful multifaceted networking requires knowing how to communicate with people in a range of scenarios. It can be worth your time understanding and developing your skills in the main types of business communication, as this can be key to bolstering your professional relationships.

For instance, lateral communication skills enable you to effectively interact and collaborate with professional peers. You can develop this by getting involved in team-building experiences. Upward communication skills also allow you to forge connections with those in positions of seniority. You’ll find that seeking leaders with open-door contact policies may be receptive to relationships with professionals throughout the hierarchy.

Target Relevant Projects

Remember that good networking opportunities don’t just come from events and online groups. It’s also about putting yourself in positions where you’re likely to spend time around professionals from a variety of backgrounds. One effective way to do this is to get involved in a range of projects. Doing so showcases your skills, collaborative traits, and personal attributes to those who may be in a position to further your career. Not to mention that having a variety of experiences can look great on your resume.

Some points of focus include the following.

Community projects

Volunteer and community initiatives can be opportunities to showcase your skill set to do some good in the world. Alongside this, it exposes you to people from a range of backgrounds. Your engagement in these situations tends to mean that you already share some ethical and social values in common with other participants. Developing relationships boosts your network while also gaining community experiences that can be impressive resume components, particularly to employers who value volunteer work.

Workplace projects

Wherever possible, make it clear to managers and executives that you’re keen to get involved in workplace projects. This doesn’t have to be just projects within your department. Cross- departmental and organizational projects offer more varied experiences and personnel. Situations that involve external organizations—such as supply chain collaborations—are also great ways to be seen and make connections with professionals from different backgrounds.

Seek Genuine Connections

Too many people treat networking as simply a way to get ahead in their careers and boost their resumes. While it’s fine to have this as a goal, it shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of your efforts. You may find focusing too much on this results in relationships that are cold, transactional in nature, and—ultimately—of limited value. Seeking genuine personal and professional connections tends to result in stronger, mutually supportive relationships.

Firstly, it can mean that your resume stands out more because your network connections are more enthusiastic about recommending you to their industry contacts. You both may also understand one another’s goals and needs a little better. The result is that you recommend one another to the most appropriate opportunities. They may even be open to reviewing your resume and offering suggestions based on their experience about how you can make a bigger impact on employers.

Being in a mutually supportive network relationship can also mean you’re more comfortable about reaching out. Your ability and willingness to ask for help with your professional goals can be a key to success. Overcoming being too proud and showing some vulnerability not only boosts personal growth, but also fosters a greater sense of trust and authenticity in your relationships. Remember to be specific in what help you’re asking for and to show gratitude for the results. Importantly, be open to providing help in return.

Conclusion

Your networking approach can boost your resume and your career. This should include utilizing multifaceted forums and communication methods, alongside cultivating genuine relationships, among other strategies. Additionally, be proactive in your efforts. You have limited time at your disposal, but dedicating a little of it to building relationships is powerful, both personally and professionally.

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About the author: Miles Oliver is a freelance contributor whose writing focuses on professional development. You can reach him at moliverpages@gmail.com.

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