If you’re looking for a job here’s the best advice I can share; quit depending on your resume to find your next position and spend more time connecting with people.

I’ve Never Needed a Resume

I don’t intend this to be a humble brag, really I don’t, but I’ve never needed a resume for employment. Yes, the world was a different place when I entered the workforce, resumes weren’t compulsory, but I’ve changed careers during this century. I’ve never needed a resume because I’ve always been introduced, recruited, or networked into my future position. You can do the same.

Think Outside of the Crate

Usually, when I talk about networking people think I’m talking about networking events. Okay, I get it. That’s fine. Networking events are okay, but they’re not the only place to network. Keep an open mind to networking that doesn’t require a name tag. There are networking opportunities around every corner.

“If you agree with me that networking is one of the surest ways to expand your horizons wouldn’t it make sense to look for networking opportunities beyond the norm? Networking events, social media meetups, and chamber meetings are all great places to meet people and be introduced to companies. When you think about it—any gathering of folks is a chance to network, and there are a lot of those.” — Bet You Hadn’t Thought of These Networking Opportunities.

Who Knows You Best?

So, who knows you best, and also cares about you the most? And who has your best interests at heart? You know the answer, it’s friends and family. Not only should you network with friends and family when you begin a job search, you should start there. People have told me that’s crass, pushy, or invasive. My answer to that is if your friends and family aren’t there to help you, who is?

“If you network why wouldn’t you network with THE people most-invested in you—your friends? I’m not saying to forego other network events and opportunities—of course not. What I’m saying is consider all your resources. Where else will you find networkers who know and care about you? Take a moment and make a list of friends, people you communicate with on a daily basis, folks you trust, and people who share with you. Look at you latest emails, texts, and social media conversations. You may be surprised how many people you confide in, relate to, and care about. Send them an individual message—email, text, or direct message, and begin by asking, “How can I help you?” — Your Best Networking Group is Waiting.

Help Someone

The best way I know to network and to meaningfully connect with others is to help. Bring folks together, introduce people that can help each other, solve problems, help others, and people will remember you.

“Help a teammate get their work completed. Help a customer find a client, or help a vendor by sharing information. Find someone to help every day. What have you got to lose, a little time? And let’s say I’m wrong, and your teammates, customers, and vendors don’t care if you help—you’ll feel good about what you’ve done. Now go help somebody.” — Who Have You Helped Today?

Shine a Positive Beacon

Early in my working career, I earned the nickname, the “Can Do” kid. Co-workers saw me as an optimist that always had a smile on my face. I radiated the belief that I could tackle whatever task was handed to me regardless of its degree of difficulty. Pinned to my work station was an index card with CAN DO printed on it. Little did people know it was there to help me fight my doubting inner voice. It all starts with a smile. How do you want to be remembered?

“There’s a little more to it, but smiling may be the primary key to successful networking. People like to chat with people who smile and most of us avoid frowners. In this Psychology Today post,  they share, “…each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to return the favor. You are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel good chemicals in your brain, activate reward centers, and make you both more attractive…” What better ingredients for a successful networking introduction could there be? Creating symbiosis, a feeling of well-being, and attraction is a good start. Compelling connections are based on mutual needs and interests, but they don’t always start there, do they? Sometimes it starts with a smile.” — Let Your Smile be Your Calling Card.

A Resume Alone Isn’t Enough

A resume will seldom open doors; introductions do that. Once your foot is in the door a resume isn’t much more than a formality. Yes, a poorly constructed resume can still hurt your chances even when you’ve made the first cut. Don’t misunderstand me; a quality resume is important, just don’t rely on it to find a job. Network to find opportunities, and then use your resume as one of the tools to help you win the position.

How Can I Help You?

I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a  management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

Excerpts in this post first appeared in We Are Recruiters.