>Why you need to network!

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Description: Social Networking Source: own wor...  In my last post, I mentioned that Dave, like others leaving the public sector, doesn’t think networking will be the right thing for him. So today, I am going to write about the value of professional networking.

Everyone has a network of friends and contacts already.  Networks are not about exploiting people, they are about building and maintaining relationships.

In professional networking you are gathering information that may help you in your work, not just your job search.  You never know when you will need these relationships or when your contacts may need you and the information you have in return! Just like personal networks, professional networks are about reciprocal arrangements.  And personal networks and professional networks blend into each other in terms of people offering mutual support.
But let us deal with the issue of networking and job search! 

Most people leaving the UK public sector come from an environment where the rules require all new posts to be advertised.  While it is true that people find ways round the rules, that is expectation.  It is part of the culture.  

People can get very upset if they find a juicy public sector role has been filled without being advertised at least internally across the organization.  But those same people can get very upset if they a key role has been advertised outside the organization without looking first for someone inside the organization. That again is part of the corporate culture.  

In the world outside things are often different. 
As Ian Machan said here recently probably between 30% – 80% of all jobs, never get advertised – the iceberg factor.  If you spend your time just on the advertised vacancies, you have less chance of getting a post because there is far more competition for those roles. 

If you spend at least some time on the hidden, less competitive vacancies, you are raising your chances of success.  

So, it is wise to take a balanced approach, between applying for advertised posts and exploring the “hidden market.
Jobs that don’t get advertised usually get filled in one of three ways:
  • Recruitment Consultants search their files of registered applicants who are suitable candidates
  • Direct approach through networks of personal contacts and head-hunters (who again often rely on their own wide networks of contacts).
  • Previous applicantsunsolicited CVs received or near-miss candidates from previous advertising campaigns.

Small-to-medium-sized organizations (SMEs) may never advertise their jobs nationally – or at all. With far smaller recruitment budgets, these organisations prefer local or specialist publications, recruitment agencies, unsolicited and direct applications or people found through contacts.
In some larger organizations, again not all vacancies are advertised!  This is so particularly in competitive areas such as public relations, journalism or consultancy work. Employers expect applicants to take the initiative.
Some organizations prefer to hire someone we
ll known to contacts as being capable of doing a good job against the risk of an unknown “best” candidate. 

The degree of formality around filling even quite senior posts can vary widely.  This may come as something of a shock to former public sector employees.
Networking is critical in accessing this hidden market. 

There is a huge amount to be gained from developing your contacts in terms of gathering industry knowledge and hearing about these never-advertised positions.
A professional network is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have source of new work, support, advice, ideas and consolation. So, strengthen relationships with people you already know and put some energy into meeting new people.
My next post will deal with your online presence, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the rest—they’re not just for teenagers, they are efficient and effective ways to stay in touch with a whole lot of people and to find new opportunities.

In the mean time if you need advice about networking please get in touch – my contact details are below or you can use the contact form here. 

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