The job market is a tough place to shop. There’s a lack of positions in the field you want, and the competition is fierce to snap up anything new that comes along. It’s a good thing you have your network to depend on. Networking is an intimidating word for a lot of people. You know you have one, but you don’t know how to use it to find work. Isn’t that what job postings are for?
Let me clue you in on some interesting numbers:
- As much as 80% of new jobs are never listed.
- 40% of new hires are made because of a referral.
- Around 80% of jobs are found and filled due to networking.
Networking is the most common way to find a new job, and it’s going to help you do just that. All you have to do is learn our favourite secrets to leveraging your professional network to find your next job.
Make it Clear You’re Looking for a Job
You’ll never find a job if you keep the hunt a secret. You need to get that information out there for as many people to see as possible. Let everyone in your network know that you’re searching for options.
Tell people at networking events what sort of job you’re looking for on the off chance they may have a lead for you. That small chance may just get you what you’re looking for. If you meet someone new at an event that could potentially be a help to you, volunteer your business card. Ask them while you’re still face-to-face if it would be alright for you to reach out in the future.
It’s Professional, Polite, And Hard To Say No To.
It’s equally as important to keep your social media profiles up to date with all the details on how the search is going. The more people know about what you want, the more likely that information is to fall into the right hands.
Keep Your Requests For Information Reasonable
You’re asking someone to take time out of their day and schedule to help you, so it’s important to be polite. Be mindful not to make too many demands. Not that you would do that. We’re just covering our bases here. Be as concise with the requests you make as possible. You shouldn’t simply send an email filled with questions that could take an entire afternoon to answer. Ask for 15 or 20 minutes of time, something easy to commit too.
Cut Big Requests Down Into Smaller Ones
For example, instead of asking someone to go over your entire resume because it’s not getting any bites, see if they will skim it for any big flaws that jump out at them.
The five minutes it takes them to notice you need to include another section or find that glaring typo you missed is much more reasonable than spending half an hour reading through every detail.
Go Into Any Meetings Prepared
Along those same lines, you need to be ready to go whenever you are granted someone’s valuable time. Sure, you can walk into a meeting or start a phone call and just wing it, but you probably won’t earn any brownie points that way.
Get everything prepared before you head out. Make sure you know what questions you want to ask and the information you’re hoping to gain. You don’t want to forget to talk about something important.
Be a Little Bold
You’d be surprised how far offering to buy someone a cup of coffee can get you. Don’t think of it as a bribe. It’s a polite gesture to thank them for their time. A way for you to show that you really want to meet with them, and you’re willing to go the extra mile to make it worth their while.
Show some personality. You’re a person, so make sure that comes through when you set up your meeting. It makes you memorable.
Don’t Just Get in Touch — Keep in Touch
Maintaining your network is just as essential as building it in the first place. Just like any relationship, you have to put the work in it to keep it from withering away. Maybe not as much work as personal relationships, but you at least have to give it enough effort to keep it alive.
If you get into the habit of contacting someone only because you want or need something from them, things are going to go downhill pretty fast. No one wants to help that person. Please don’t be that person. You never know how important a connection is going to be in the future. Just because they don’t have a lead for you at the time doesn’t mean one won’t pop up at some point.
And when it does, you want to be on their good side, don’t you? (The answer is yes.) So, keep in touch. If you notice something good that someone has done, send a simple “good job” their way. Little acts of kindness are great for making someone smile and keeping your network intact.
Always Let Them Know You’re Grateful
When you find yourself feeling grateful for someone’s help, don’t forget to express it. Networking is all about connecting with living, breathing people. Those people have their own important business that they are so kindly willing to interrupt to give you a hand.
The least you can do is say thank you. Always follow the leads you are given. You never know — the least likely one could get you exactly where you’re trying to go. Don’t ignore something just because you think it’s not going anywhere. After you take someone’s advice, shoot them a short email letting them know how it panned out. They’re probably curious to know how their advice worked for you. Don’t leave them hanging! A physical thank you card is a fantastic way to show your gratitude for someone’s time and energy. It also lets them know that you want to keep in touch.
There you have it — the best-kept secrets of the networking world. Just promise you’ll keep them to yourself. Okay … you don’t have to keep our secrets.
In fact, tell everyone you know how you used these bad boys to help you find your next job. They need to know how easy it is, so they can do it too. Now, no more sitting at your computer scrolling through job sites. Get out there and get your interaction on. Use our favourite secrets to leveraging your professional network to find your next job.
You’ve got nothing to lose!
Image taken by Visual Tag Mx