You may not be aware that up to 80% of available positions are contained within the hidden job market. How then do you gain access to these unadvertised positions? Through networking! Careers Fairs, Industry Groups, Chamber Groups, Business Clubs all bring with them the opportunity to network.
If the thought of working a room full of industry professionals brings on a cold sweat you are not alone. Understandably so, because it takes much more planning and courage than it does to apply to an online job board. Many jobseekers are afraid of putting themselves out there as they fear they will be seen as pushy, annoying and self serving. However, networking is not about using people or aggressive self-promotion, rather it is about relationship building.
Why else should you network?
- Applications can be too impersonal to convince an employer to hire you.
- Job boards draw high number of applicants, networking can reduce the number of candidates you have to compete against.
- Networking can provide information of leads on positions prior to their advertisement.
Below are tips for making the most of your networking experience.
Focus on building relationships
- Be honest with yourself and with others with the type of work you are looking for
- Don’t forget that networking relies on the maintenance of relationships, they are not solely concerned with business transactions. Allow for a ‘catch-up’ before diving into business.
- Ask for advice, not a job.
FORD technique for small talk
It’s important to remember that networking at it’s core is about getting to know people, it’s not about leaping into business transactions- that part comes later. Therefore relationship building is the key to success because people do business with people they trust.
When getting to know a new potential member of your network consider asking questions relating to:
All the connections in the world won’t be of assistance if they are not aware that you are looking for a position. Be specific about the kind of role you are after and don’t be afraid to ask for specific information, interviews or leads. If you ask your connection to let you know if they hear of ‘anything’ they won’t remember you, so ensure you are precise in the line of work you are after. Additionally don’t assume that a certain person won’t be able to help, you never know who else they may know.
Do your homework
When attending events for networking purposes don’t try to meet as many people as possible. If you are able to find out which companies will be attending in advance you can spend your time with those who are likely to provide the most relevance to your career.
Never underestimate the benefits of volunteering
Take advantage of opportunities that will likely allow you to gain valuable experience in your field. Not only will you be contributing to your community, but you will also have the opportunity to create a host of contacts. Additionally, volunteering has the added bonus of looking favourable and gaining real-world experience on your resume.
If you would like more information on how to create your own network, we’re up for a chat. tel: 1300 363 128 to speak with a Career Specialist.