Make your network work for you

“Whenever I see advice from someone about how to find a job all I ever hear is — network, network, network,” says the unemployed woman. “What is all this network stuff about?” she asks.

Here are some answers to those of you who are wondering the same thing – what is this network, network, network?

Fact: The majority of all jobs (70-80 per cent) are found through networking.

The best way to get a job is to get out there and be seen — network, network, network.

Where do I network?

Everywhere — meetings, classes, job fairs, open houses, social events, association meetings.

With whom do I network?

Everyone — family, friends, neighbors, ex-bosses, former co-workers, vendors you worked with in your last jobs, competitors of your last job, contacts through others, informational interviewing –

Talk to people who are doing the type of work that you might like to do. Identify contacts by asking, “is there anyone else you could recommend I speak with?” or “do you know anyone in ___ career who might be willing to talk to me?”.

This is about sales and numbers — get out there and get contacting. Rehearse and script what you are going to say when you do follow up.

What if they ask you what you are looking for? Have an answer ready.

What if they ask you, “Tell me about yourself?” Have an answer ready to go. This is your product information — and you are the product. What do you have to offer?

If you’re posting resumes on the Internet sites and waiting for something to happen you are making a big mistake — and may be in for a long wait.

That is the passive way to search for a job, and it used to work. But in today’s competitive job market you are hoping against the odds of getting noticed.

To Network — Or not to Network?

Not To Network

1. I don’t want to bother anyone — don’t want to be a nuisance.
2. I really don’t know anyone who would be of any help anyway.
3. Why bother — it won’t do any good.

To Network

1. The “Hidden Job Market” — 60 per cent of jobs not listed.
2. #1 method for finding a job is through “the grapevine”.
3. It’s just talking to people — formally and informally.

Network Mistakes

1. Not introducing yourself in a confident manner
2. Not mentioning a referral name
3. Not focusing — or focusing too much on self-interest
4. Not being prepared — one-two minute “personal statement”

Be Prepared

1. Any time, any place
2. Go beyond your personal contacts
3. Establish a rapport
4. Look for opportunities to reciprocate
5. Keep your promises

Watch your network grow and the knowledge you gain by contacting people you know (and do not know) in order to find information about an industry, organization, or job/internship.

Why does networking work? Networking works because you are being proactive and driven by your resourcefulness. Networking puts you in touch with individuals who can give you ‘insider information’ on vacancies, industry or organizational culture, and required skills, etc.

Network, Network, Network….

Carole Martin, America’s #1 Interview Coach has specialized in the subject of “Interviewing” for the past 15 and has coached and interviewed thousands of job seekers. She is the creator of the online tool, Job Winning Brand and gives free interview Q&A advice at The Job Interview Coaching Center .

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Photo © Willie B. Thomas