by Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck
National Certified Career Counselors & Life Calling CoachesSM
It is estimated that 95% of job hunters primarily use one job strategy to search for jobs: applying to online job postings. Relying primarily on internet job boards can significantly delay the time it will take you to find a job. Why? Because experts estimate that only 15 to 25% of available jobs are advertised on the Internet!
So where are most jobs found? The majority of available positions exist in the "hidden" job market—jobs that are open but have not been advertised. The reason for this is that advertising jobs, recruiting, reviewing resumes and interviewing all cost time and money. And even when employers choose to advertise job openings, they know very little about a candidate just from their resume and/or application. This is why so many jobs are never advertised and you are less likely to find your dream job online!
So, what is the answer? Networking is the key to finding those "hidden" or unadvertised job openings. While many job hunters recognize that networking is important, they will admit that they're not doing it because they're not sure what to do or are afraid of the process. Since networking is such an important job search strategy, let's look at what it is, what it's not, and some tips for doing it effectively.
What is networking? Simply stated, networking is building mutually beneficial alliances, or connections, with other people. Networking, at its best, is not a formal, contrived process. Instead, networking is talking to people whom you already know (or are willing to get to know), and having them help you expand your network of information and contacts.
Tips for Expanding Your Network
If you are looking for a new job or would like to find a better job, here are some important tips for networking. Following these suggestions can help you land a job faster:
- Define your job target (that is, the job title---such as accountant, customer service rep, etc.-you are going after). Other people can be of most assistance when they know what specific type of job you are seeking.
-Practice communicating clearly what skills and experience you have that qualifies you for that type of position. People will be more comfortable referring you to someone they know if they believe you are qualified for the job.
-Make a list of the people you already know (friends, relatives, coworkers, parents of your children's friends, former classmates, people from church, etc.). Reminding yourself who you already know is a great way to begin your networking.
-Start moving your mouth. Make phone calls to the people in your list of contacts. Get some practice by starting with closers friends and relatives and then move on to others that you don’t know as well. Tell them about the job you are seeking and about some of your key skills and experiences. Ask for suggestions of people and/or companies that would be good for you to contact. Don’t forget to send them a thank you note.
-Talk with people that you just happen to meet... or anyone in the industry where you are looking for a job. You don't know what and who they know and the wealth of information in their head could turn into a valuable connection for you.
-Expand your network by joining a professional association. This is a great place to meet people who work in your field of interest. Do an Internet search to find the key associations for your field. Look for local chapter groups where you can attend events and network with people in your industry of choice.
-Develop an online profile at Linkedin.com (you are on LinkedIn right?), and take advantage of the opportunity to join LinkedIn's alumni and professional groups to make new connections. Here are additional tips for networking on LinkedIn.
-Volunteer. In a survey volunteering was listed as the second-best way to network. Also, and perhaps more importantly volunteering your time and skills will give you joy and energy as you focus on helping others. You can search for volunteer opportunities at http://christiancareercenter.christianvolunteering.org/
You never know when you will meet someone who could help you connect with just the right job! Here are some ways you can be prepared: stay well-groomed (even if you are just running errands); have extra copies of your resume or business cards available wherever you go ("just in case"); set goals for how many people you are going to contact each day; and, make it a habit to strike up conversations with new people while standing in line, at parties, your kids' sporting events, in the church pew, etc. Also, remember that networking is reciprocal: seek to provide some type of assistance to at least one person each day. The Bible tells us that we are to be servants, and that we will reap what we sow!
Networking can not only speed up the process of finding your next job, but it can also enrich your life with new relationships and opportunities both to give and to receive. Start today-your next job may just be a conversation away!
Need more help with job search and/or targeting the right job? Check out our services and schedule a free career services consultation . We would love to help you get the right job for you