This is often known as the “hidden job market”. Some high level positions may not even be advertised and recruiters call who they know for recommendations.
Even with this knowledge,very few job-seekers fully utilize networking as a way of unlocking opportunities.
Networking means developing a broad list of contacts — people you’ve met through various social and business functions — and using them to your advantage when you look for a job.
People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network.
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Today’s job market is highly saturated and you need to stand out to grow and succeed in your field. The only way to stand out is at times who you know.
Your expertise, skills and doing a good job is not sufficient. The more “right” people you know the easier it is for you to advance in your career or even recover from a job disaster such as a redundancy or termination.
The key to effective networking is deciding to put in the energy needed to make it work.You will need to define what it is you need to achieve: e.g. what kind of career advancement opportunities are you looking for?
Secondly, define how networking can help you to get where you want to be by establishing who can help you unlock such doors and where and how to find them and build a relationship with them.
Below are some steps you can use to help you unlock your careee doors through networking.
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Make a long range plan of what you want to be known for, by who and for what reason.Design a project for yourself that makes you the natural and only choice when opportunity comes knocking.
Join networking organizations that will align to your strategic career goals and ensure visibility by aligning your interactions with your strategic career goals.
Networking will involve putting yourself out there to be seen and heard. As you meet people, focus more on what you do, your talents and achievements when introducing yourself as opposed to just your job title.
Make a point of remembering people’s names and shed the old meeting/greeting rituals to become an outstanding networker and enhance your relationship building skills.
- Build your confidence and comfort levels
In order to network effectively, it is important that you get past the fear of appearing to be too pushywithout neither being too passive.
While being too pushywill turn people off, being too passive will not leave any impression on possible networks and will not get you any results.
Move networking from something I have to do to something I want to do by being comfortable to tell your contacts what you want or need.
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- Ensure you have a professional CV
Ensure that your CV is in tandem with how you want to portray your personal brand and how you describe yourself in the networking events.
If you are not exactly the best at blowing your own trumpet in your CV, having it professionally done for you would be a great place to begin.
Ensure your CV is always up-to-date and ready to send whenever an opportunity presents itself.
- Initiate informational interviews.
One of the best ways to gain more information about an occupation or industry — and to build a network of contacts in that field — is to talk with people who are currently working in the field.
The purpose of the informational interview is to obtain information, not to get a job.
Stay in touch with your contacts and tell them about yourself while also keeping up with their agenda and figuring out how you can add value.
So doing will ensure that you remain at their top of their mind so that you are the first person they think about whenever an opportunity relevant to you comes up.
Networking with the aim of getting a better job takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the long run.
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