Career Frontier, Career Money Life certified supplier, shares some tips and advice on how to use your network when you’re job hunting.
I’m no extrovert. The thought of walking up to someone I don’t know and telling them all about myself is a little intimidating and in all honesty sometimes I think I’d rather poke myself in the eye. I do however believe in the power of ‘fake it til you make it’. Throughout my employment history, only TWO of my roles have eventuated from actually applying in response to advertisements.
The rest? Networking.
Networking is about building relationships with people beyond your own tight-knit circles, and without sounding egocentric ‘using’ these relationships to find career opportunities.
The truth of the matter is, the majority of positions filled now do not result from advertisement. Approx 75% of the job market is ‘hidden’ so it’s up to you to seek the opportunities.
If your friends and family aren’t aware you’re looking for a job, pick up the phone, like YESTERDAY, and start calling around, asking them to call on their own contacts. You’ll also need to start developing your own networks further from home (oh hey there social media!)
Whether contacting people via Facebook, LinkedIn, email, face to face or on the phone, keep in mind you’re not asking for a job. You’re wanting their advice and guidance. Ask them how they landed their role or what it might take to be successful in that particular industry. Encouraging the other person to talk about themselves will often help you build rapport. But be prepared to talk about yourself if they ask – career goals, strengths etc. If you are more familiar with the person, it doesn’t hurt to ask them to keep an eye on any openings at their company.
Follow up with a message or email thanking them for their valuable time, even sharing with them some relevant info or article on something you found you had a common interest in.
That’s the more informal side of it. Formal job search networking involves attending professional association and/or business networking forums, conferences, seminars – especially important for University students. If I could go back in time and speak to my younger self studying my degree, I’d tell that naive little thing not to wait until graduating to talk to the right people or start looking for work! It’s so important to start forming valuable professional relationships from day dot.
The easy thing about all this? You’re already networking everyday, you’re just not realising it! And your network is bigger than you know. Get a pen and paper (or iPad if you live in the 21st Century unlike myself) and get to writing a list of anyone and everyone you know – family, friends, former colleagues, high school contacts, church, your child’s school, the gym or your neighborhood. Also think about those you’ve met through close connections: your sister’s co-worker; your best friend’s boss; your roommate’s spouse; friends of your parents; your uncle’s business partner. Don’t forget to include people like your doctor, dog groomer, accountant, or yoga instructor.
There. I just wrote your list for you. Good luck!
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