Networking is a soft skill that benefits everyone from entrepreneurs to people trying to further their own career path. When done properly, it can not only save you time, stress, and money, but it can also open up doors of opportunity that you wouldn’t even imagine. A person’s network can give information about much more than job openings. The more people you meet, the more you are affected by your interactions with them. This, in turn, might lead you in a completely different direction than you had originally planned. It also opens up all the serendipitous things that can happen as you expose yourself to more experiences and more interactions. Sometimes all it takes is a single contact to get your foot in the door of meetings or interviews with one of your dream companies. 

One of the most obvious places to grow your network is from within your workplace. Even if you aren’t interested in leaving your current position, you can never have too many contacts. Absorb everything you can from your coworkers, including the way they handle themselves in performance, attitude, and diplomacy. Even after you or then depart form the company, you can all lean on each other to provide tips and referrals and help support each other by giving tips on what future employers look for in a qualified candidate. 

One of the many reasons to always leave a job on good terms is that you never know when you will come into contact again with similar people, especially within a niche industry. In addition, leaving on good terms carries over long after the letter of reference has been written. People will fondly remember the way you were responsible in your departure and word of mouth is a very powerful weapon to have in your corner in a highly competitive world. 

Once you are officially looking for a job, start with people within your professional and social circles. Many people will seek to fill positions with personal contacts because there is a higher degree of confidence with people who are familiar. Make sure everyone in your social media network is aware of your job search. In addition, ask colleagues for any tips or advice about what they’ve found to be successful while job hunting. This can be especially useful if it’s been a long time wince you’ve been on a job search yourself.