Many experts believe that many, if not the majority, of jobs don’t get advertised.
This is certainly true for the private sector, less so in the public sector. But the likelihood of a job not being advertised seems to increase with the level of the job.
So the more people who know you, or at least know of you, the more likely you are to be offered a role.
There is a very good reason to develop and make the most of your contact network.
But unfortunately networking doesn’t always get a good press. It continues to be associated with selling of the cruder kind. This is a pity!
Networking can be useful and very enjoyable for all concerned!
If you go into it with an honest approach, determined to offer something of value (you are prepared to develop the relationship and provide help when you can) it is certainly not exploitation.
You will be surprised how willing and pleased people will be to help.
For networking to work well you need to develop a broad list of contacts. This can include people you’ve met in your private and social as well as your work life.
Don’t forget people you’ve met through social networks over the internet but I’ll deal separately with social networking in another post.
Unless you want to invest in specialist software, the easiest way to start your list is with a pen and a large sheet of paper. Then think in terms of a series of circles; the inner circle being your closest friends and family. You can draw this if it helps. Or you could develop a spider diagram, if that appeals to you more. You then segment each circle (branch) into slices for family, work, hobbies and social life.
Work from inside out – who do you know and who might they know?
Think about people you know now and people you used to know.
You can edit out in the second step – the first step is get as many people down on paper as possible.
In the next step we are going to think about how you are going to use the list. We are going to work out a plan and for that you are going to need a card file or a simple computer data base. I use Microsoft Outlook Contacts.
When you start networking, you will find that might most people are generous with both their time and their advice. If they trust you, they will be prepared to introduce you to others who can help!
In the mean time if you have any questions please get in touch. If you have some good tips on how to make the most of your network please share them here.