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How To Find A Job Through Networking - Part 1

Identifying and contacting potential employers through the networking process is still a very successful job search strategy in many industries

What is networking?

Career networking / professional networking, is the oldest method used to find a job in the hidden job market  - that is, jobs that are never advertised and are filled through direct referrals from employees or from job seekers themselves  and as a result of headhunting. The hidden job market can be accessed through leads from your contacts who are referred to as your network.  

 

Don't be afraid of networking

If you use career / professional networking as a job search strategy, you do not have to ask people in your network they know of any job openings. You ask for advice to assist you in your job search.

 

People are generally very flattered to be asked for career advice and are generally more helpful than you would expect, as long as you make it clear you are not asking for a job or even asking to be referred to a job. 

Your network consists of people, who can link you to a job opportunity by providing you with valuable job search information in the following areas:

  • Provide company or business information

  • Advising you of current information about their industry

  • Providing referrals to people who may be able to help you

  • Give you leads on jobs coming up in the future

  • Advise you on what skills or qualities the employer values

Who are the people in your network?

Your network consists of people you know through a number of ways.

  • You have met through your job - i.e. wholesalers or suppliers you dealt within a regular basis

  • They could be friends and relations

  • Through sporting bodies or other recreational activities

  • Through your children's school at sports or parenting groups.

  • Facebook friends

  • Professional networks - industry groups or affiliations, alumni associations including Linkeden, rotary clubs etc. 

  • Former colleagues, fellow students - contact through Alumni networks and LinkedIn. 

When you start your career you should become be a paid up member of you industry association or affiliation if possible and attend all events to build and retain your network.

 

Is there proof that networking works?

The professional consensus in the recruitment industry is that between 75%-80% of jobs are thought to be in the hidden job market. These statistics have been around for many years and never backed up with statistical data on how the information was collected. 

 

My personal experience in job search training confirms this networking figure, and it was higher, although the jobs were filled by less skilled people usually blue-collar workers. In nearly every workshop between 80% - 100% of participants found their last job through someone they knew or through friends of friends. Also see the Perfect Resume Guide where a high level executive still advocates networking as a job search strategy.

 

Social Media

This section has been revised since social networking through Facebook and professional networking through LinkedIn became more popular. To date there are no statistics available to indicate that networking for jobs has increased through these mediums, although my initial research shows that LinkedIn can work if you pay to put your profile on the internet and use their job matching services.

 

Given statistics cited, Linkedin has 187 million members in over 200 countries and territories (Sept 2012)  past results social media should become even more relevant for jobseekers and LinkedIn has the potential to change the way people find a job and how companies recruit - especially headhunting (Companies approach in confidence and entice employees from their current employers). If you increase your network then it must increase your chances of finding a job through professional networking. However a LinkedIn profile is no good unless people can find it and it must be "optimised" just as a website is with the right keywords. This can be a bit tricky.  How to write a LinkedIn profile.

 

There are many reasons why employers will take referrals from others, and people who have made prior contact.  For example,

  • The expense of advertising in terms of money and loss of production hours and tying up their phones, which may result in lost business.

  • Some employers do not have the skills to do their own recruitment.

  • Many employers are so busy they put it off, and staff may be doing overtime, which can leave to discontent in the workplace.

  • Employers will often take referrals from their own staff because employees/former employees generally only refer people who they know are reliable and will not let them down. 

  • People who use career networking and cold calling effectively to look for work, are considered to be more motivated and pro-active. So if someone comes along at the right time they will consider you for the job. 

Other areas where people successfully use networking to find a job are in technical areas such as IT and engineering and in industries such as mining and construction, and transport.

There is a great deal of resistance to planned career / professional networking, even among people who traditionally find a job through this source. They really don't understand how to use networking as a job search strategy.  It is not just good luck - you may have to work at it.

However a word of advice. My jobseekers who found their last job through networking were once again unemployed. It is possible that they were not in the right job.  By planning a networking strategy you can target jobs that you want to do,or are qualified for.

Next     Develop and Implement your Job Search Networking plan Part 2 This section is a step by step guide on how  to go about networking including approaching people by telephone and letter - includes example of opening statements

 

 Copyright Pro-Active Human Resource Management 

 

On this page

What is networking?

Who are people in your network?

Is there proof that networking works?

 


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