Networking Tips to Help Your Job Search
Networking – if you are a new job seeker it might surprise you to learn that 60% of jobs are never advertised. That means that most vacancies are filled by word of mouth. There are filled through networking.
Why are so few vacancies advertised?
Advertising costs a lot of money. And then it takes a lot of time to sort through application forms and CVs and even more resource to interview candidates. All this can be avoided by promoting from within the organisation or by employing people who are known to them. Some organisations actively encourage their staff to refer friends with suitable skills and most are happy to receive introductions to, or approaches from, good people.
How do I begin?
Most people are anxious about networking if they’ve never done it before. Taking an organised approach and working to your plan can help you feel more confident.
Steps to networking!
- Make a list of the people you know – including the sector they work in and who they might know.
- Look out for contacts and networks that relate to your own sector – check out industry conferences, events and forums.
- Exploit the possibilities of social networking. Join business networking sites such as LinkedIn. Look for relevant groups and organisations on social networking sites including Facebook. You could consider establishing your own networking group on LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Plan your approach. Have a clear idea of who you want to talk to or make contact with at events and online. Think about why you are interested in the organisation and why you’re approaching them.
- Do your homework. When approaching an individual or organisation try to research what they do. LinkedIn and Facebook are great tools for researching people. Get to understand their culture and the language of the sector they work in.
- Focus on what you can offer. Before setting up a networking meeting, think about what you can do for them. Could you suggest a contact that might help their business or offer to help out with a busy project they are involved in? Do you have specialist advice to offer?
- Tailor your communication. Don’t send out the same version of your speculative application letter or CV to all organisations. Make sure they are tailored to the organisation and show how your skills are relevant.
- Keep records. Keep an excel spreadsheet or a notebook listing contacts,to whom you’ve spoken or written. And include their contact details and their position as well as how you are going to follow up. This record can be invaluable if your contacts get in touch at a later date.
- Be yourself. The most important parts of networking are to be yourself and to treat other people with courtesy and respect. You don’t have to have overwhelming confidence – just remember other people at networking events may be feeling just like you. Show a real interest in other people and start a conversation, and then follow up; you will become a good net-worker and it will pay dividends.
- Remember, networking is 60% about giving (your time, interest and energy) and only 40% about getting
If you need support in developing the confidence to network please get in touch.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link