NETWORKING: The Primary Tool for Job Search
Networking in job search accounts for most of the job interviews and about 60% of jobs secured. According to 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Report, 40% of job seekers found jobs through personal contacts and 21% from online social networks. Merriam Webster defines networking as, “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Therefore, networking involves developing relationships with and using those who can progress your job search. Your network contacts become catalyst for your job search.
Networking may seem difficult, but it’s not. It requires time, effort, communicating, and asking for information or assistance. The greatest hurdles are overcoming fear of rejection and approaching others. Although networking may necessitate approaching strangers, the majority involve people who a contact introduced. Rarely, will you be cold calling.
People like helping others and welcome opportunities to do so. Furthermore, people like recognition and to be looked up to for expertise. Politely asking their assistance is usually appreciated.
• Contacts provide information useful to job search and understanding.
• Contacts provide referrals to those who can provide information to further your search progression.
• Contacts provide introductions to hiring managers from someone they know and trust.
To effectively network:
• Create a list of those you know and how they might help.
• Create personal networking business cards.
• Practice your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Things such as vocal tone and an honest smile go a long way.
• Develop a 30-60 second elevator-pitch highlighting what you are looking for, why, and what you seek from your contact.
• Reach out to those on your list using your elevator pitch.
• Focus on building relationships with your contacts with an effort to help them, if possible. There is a universal law of reciprocation that those who are helped, desire to reciprocate in kind.
• Ask for short (10-15 minute) informational meeting regarding the position you seek, an introduction to someone who could provide advise regarding the position sought and/or introduction to the hiring manager. Most are willing to offer advice; therefore, ask for advice rather than a job. There a strong inner drive to be consistent in keeping one’s commitments.
• Prepare intelligent questions relative to the position sought.
• Take notes.
• Trade business cards.
• Follow-up at the conclusion of your meeting and regularly afterwards.
In addition to personal contacts, excellent contacts can be developed through social networks and forums. Through these markets people become acquainted and these acquaintances become networking sources. Join and participate in forums in your area of expertise. Let them know your interest and begin reaching out.