An estimated 70% of jobs are not advertised. That’s a lot of hidden roles you might be missing out on.
So, how do all these jobs come about and what does this mean for you? The answer is networking. In your job search, networking focuses on the process of finding the next opportunity and expanding your circle of connections to spread the word about your ambitions and aspirations.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
Which one are you?
If you’re hesitant to network out of fear of being seen as pushy and annoying, don’t be. Networking isn’t about using other people or aggressively promoting yourself—it’s about building relationships. And while it may sound intimidating, networking is nothing more than getting to know people. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already networking every day and everywhere you go. You’re networking when you strike up a conversation with the person next to you in line, meeting a friend of a friend or catching up with a former co-worker. Everyone you meet can help you move your job search forward.
Think about it like this, people tend to do business primarily with people they know and like right?. Resumes and cover letters alone are often too impersonal to convince employers to hire you, so why not connect with them on another level? For example, it can be as simple as sending them an invite to connect with you on LinkedIn, but you need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, that way employers can see what you’ve been up to. LinkedIn is an amazing networking resource that I’ve been using for over 3 years. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile and you are interested in networking, than I suggest you sign up and join the other 433 million members -yes I said 433 MILLION members! Take a look at 125+ Amazing LinkedIn Statistics.
During my job search, I’ve come across a lot of useful information regarding networking and I thought why not spread the word, I know how hard and tedious looking for a job can be. The basic tips that I am about to tell you is nothing new and is all easily accessible online and has been for some time. I just wanted to share my opinion on what has worked for me over the years, in hopes that it can work for you too.
Networking Tip #1
Know what you want.
Networking is most effective when you have specific employer targets and career goals. It’s hard to get leads with a generic “Let me know if you hear of anything” request. You may think that you’ll have better job luck if you leave yourself open to all the possibilities, but the reality is this “openness” creates a black hole that sucks all of the networking potential out of the connection. Believe it or not, a generic networking request for a job is worse than no request at all because you can lose that networking contact and opportunity. Asking for specific information, leads, or an interview is much more focused. If you’re having trouble focusing your job search, you can turn to friends and family members for help, but avoid contacting more distant people in your network until you’ve set clear goals.
Networking Tip #2
You know more people than you think.
You may think that you don’t know anyone who can help you with your job search, but there’s a very good chance that at least a few people you know will know someone who can give you career advice or point you to a job opening. You’ll never know if you don’t ask! Start going through your social media accounts and address book and writing down names. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the list grows. Ideally getting an email address and telephone number is a good idea, practically speaking, in the 21st century, an email address is usually sufficient. A great way to do this is through LinkedIn.
Networking Tip #3
Reach out to your connections.
People can’t help you if they don’t know your situation. Once you’ve drawn up your list, start making contact with the people in your network. Let them know that you’re looking for a job. Again, be specific about what kind of work you’re looking for and ask them if they have any information or know anyone in a relevant field.
So far painless right?! Let’s keep going…
Networking Tip #4
Create and deliver your message.
Creating a clear message for your network means crafting a specific concise statement of exactly what kind of work you are looking for. Within this you should state the following:
- What type of work you’re looking for (marketing, sales, accounting etc.)
- What sectors you would like to work in (banking and finance, production, fashion etc.)
- Ideally one or two example job positions (senior project manager, production coordinator, editorial etc.)
Networking Tip #5
So you’ve sent your message to the world. Suddenly, you find an introduction to someone working at your dream employer in your inbox. What now? Following up such an email is both an art and a science. Typically, you’ll have multiple objectives for this part of the process:
- To share your background and experience
- To plant the seed of the idea your passion and specific skills set might fit into their organization
- To identify any specific opportunities that might be available now in this organization
- To learn more about the field and/or organization you’re interested in
- To identify next steps – whether that is to follow up on an opportunity, get more introductions, or have another conversation
Now you have a full plan to go out and start finding those 70% of jobs that never make it to the job boards. You’ll need to be patient and, remember, it’ll go better if you try to enjoy yourself. Good luck and happy hunting!