You’re looking for work, and you feel more-or-less confident about your prospects. You’ve been here before. You know what to do, and you know you can count on at least a few former colleagues to provide you with references. There’s only one problem: Your last job search took place a few years ago (or several years ago) in what seems like a completely different job market and a completely different era of American life.

As it happens, your instincts are not wrong. The job search process, and the simple tasks that contribute to that process—like networking—have evolved somewhat over the past decade, and even the past five years. Here are a few networking considerations that are becoming hallmarks of 2018.

Get offline (at least a little).

Of course, almost every human interaction in modern life involves some digital component. Even in rare moments when we’re engaging face to face, we tend to pepper our conversations with discussions of things that reach us through the internet. But when most of our connections occur online, the ones that happen in the real world become rare, more powerful, more meaningful and more memorable. A simple cup of coffee used to mean very little—now it can kindle a friendship, make an excellent impression and even launch you to the top of a candidate pool. So, make that coffee happen. Show up, present yourself and make your case.

Words are important and character matters.

In 2018, what you say matters, and so does how you say it. So, say the right things. Let your chosen words tell the world who you are and what you care about. “Values” are taking center stage in a big way, and the strength of your character will shine through in your words and gestures. If you’re good person with integrity (whatever that means to you and to your listener), it won’t go unnoticed. Be a good person, and let the thought, care and value you put into your words reflect that fact. In 2018, candidates are looking for good companies, and employers are looking for good people.

Let your advantages shine.

In 2008, layoffs were rampant, and the job market tilted in favor of employers. In 2018, the reverse seems to be true. Keep this fact in mind as you network. If you feel desperate, check your desperation at the door and play it cool. Focus on forming relationships, not squeezing people to get what you want. In 2018, candidates hold the cards, so relax. Carefully review every opportunity that comes your way and don’t scramble.

For more on how to form and maintain personal relationships on the path to your next job, reach out to the Milwaukee career management experts at Extension.


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