agreement 3489902 960 720

Land the Job by Building Your Network

Sometimes, it’s all about who you know. You can have the best resume, the highest grades and all the right skills for the job – but once in a while, what you really need is to know is the person on the other end of the phone to get you one step closer to your dream career.

Networking is the name of the game, and if you aren’t building your network, you could be putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes time to finding work.

One of the benefits of pursuing FastForward career training is the amount of resources and connections you can make in your community. In fact, many of our FastForward Career Coaches start the networking process for students before training even begins.

“We are out in the community networking with employers to make sure we’re properly meeting industry needs with the students we are training in the classroom,” says Melissa Marcus of Virginia Western Community College. This networking helps ensure classes are structured to train employees who are ready to enter the workplace with the exact skills needed for the job.

And although FastForward coaches set the groundwork, it’s up to the individual students to build upon that foundation and strengthen those connections.

“Looking for work is a collaborative effort,” says Renee Michelle Chalmers of Central Virginia Community College. “When I attend networking events, I ensure that I obtain any information regarding open positions that can be forwarded to students.”

Tamara Davidson, Mountain Empire Community College, and Chad Younger, Danville Community College, second the collaborative nature of networking – particularly when it comes to networking with instructors.

“We are fortunate that our instructors have many business contacts,” says Davidson. “Oftentimes, instructors will bring their business contacts into the classrooms to meet with the students and tell them more about their workplace and the industry overall. And sometimes, the networking continues outside of the classroom.”

Building your network starts with meeting and talking to people who are influential in your industry –including FastForward coaches, instructors and prospective employers. From there, it’s about maintaining and nurturing those connections. FastForward coaches recommend asking for informational interviews (informal getting-to-know-you meetings), sending follow-up emails and keeping a friendly rapport. You never know when you’ll need to reach out for help on the job hunt.