Let’s go through the process of seeking employment, shall we? What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about how to begin your job search? We’re guessing it involves the act of hopping online in order to research available career opportunities from a variety of sources. In 2019, this comes as no surprise. The world practically lives online, right? But what real connections are you making?

While the worldwide web is and will continue to be all the rage, it – in no way – can replicate the social interactions you make in person. No matter how many emails you’ve sent or social media posts you’ve commented on, you simply can’t make the same connections with people as you’d be able to in face-to-face meetings.

Where you spend your time will define how long it will take to land a new role. 

80% of your time should be spent networking. And by networking, we mean actual networking, not social media networking. This is why we’re not particularly fans of the word “networking” as its true meaning has become a bit misconstrued over the past decade or so. We prefer “relationship building”.  

When searching for a new and worthwhile career opportunity, your objective should be to meet at least one new person each week. Again, we’re talking about meeting real life people and not just typing away on your keyboard. Understandably, this can be more difficult than taking the online route which is fairly popular these days. High-paying jobs require a lot of hard work. So, it shouldn’t be considered unreasonable to put hard work into finding such lucrative opportunities. 

Relationship building requires you to follow up with people you’ve met.

It also involves researching firms and learning their culture, their products and their Twitter feeds. When you hunt down important nuggets of information, you’ll be in a better position to have a manager or executive want to spend 20 minutes with you for coffee. Here is a key message: never leave a meeting without asking, “Who do you know that you think I should meet?” 

And, by the way, never bring your resume to a coffee meeting. Always focus on the other person, not yourself. People who have agreed to meet with you know why you are there, so you don’t want to come across as desperate. On MediaBistro.com, Joel Schwartzberg advises job seekers to focus on the relationship, not the resume.

Networking is about creating a connection, not making a hard sell.

Schwartzberg quotes Kent Lee, who is a career consultant for Yahoo! and CEO of Perfect Resume: “Focus first on building the relationship with the executive. It’s important to make a connection before asking for anything. This can be done by simply asking questions that show a general interest and enthusiasm in the executive’s company.”

Schwartzberg stresses the fact that a relationship building opportunity can strike at any moment. If you’re currently on a job search, it’s important to always be prepared. 

“It could be at a conference, a book signing, a friend’s dinner party or just a chance encounter on public transit,” he writes, “In any of these scenarios, the pressure’s on you to make a positive impression so that when the time is right, the stars are aligned and a job is available, your new friend thinks you’re the perfect person to fill it.”