By Linda Matias,
How important is networking
in your career management and job search? Take a look at the astonishing
numbers surrounding how job hunters ultimately become gainfully employed:
- 14% of job hunters get jobs through newspaper
- 13% of job hunters get jobs through employment
- 5% of job hunters get jobs through career
services on college campuses.
But nearly 64% of job hunters get jobs through
networking. Not only that, they get better jobs than their
Does this mean you should concentrate only on
networking and neglect all other resources available to you? The answer is
no. An effective job campaign is well-rounded and does not rely on any one
method to achieve results. We provided those numbers to make a point. You
need to recognize the power of networking. You can also use those numbers
as a guide for how to apportion your time among the various methods.
Most job hunters limit their job search to looking
through classified ads. That is a big mistake. As you can see, the bulk of
job search activity should be spent networking.
Most job hunters purposely neglect networking
because they feel it can be uncomfortable and they believe it takes too
much effort. Of course, they are right. A job search can have its
uncomfortable moments—especially when you are unprepared—and looking for a
job is in itself a full-time job.
The process could be less intimidating if you:
- Are committed
- Get organized
- Start your search with an action plan.
To make networking work for you, let’s take a look
at your options and how to prepare your contacts to help you.
Make a list of all the people you know and split the
list into three distinct areas:
- Business Contacts. These are individuals who know
your industry. They have contacts of their own and they can make phone
calls on your behalf. Their main function is to help you gain employment
in your chosen field.
- Support System. Identify those individuals on
your contact list who would not necessarily be able to help you land a
job, but who are capable of helping you in your job search in another
capacity: as a sounding board.
- 3. Don't Waste Your Time. Differentiate between
who can help you and who can’t. Don’t spend energy on the contacts who
mean well but are not in a position to help you. A good networking
contact is one who has the resources to help you and is willing to share
Preparing Your Business Contacts
Once a contact agrees to help you in your job
search, it is important that you properly prepare him or her. Your contact
must be armed with information concerning your immediate and long-term
goals, plus a copy of your résumé.
“Hey John, if you hear of a job opening in the IT
field, keep me in mind” is just not enough.
Educate your contact on what specific job titles,
companies, and locations you are considering. Be as specific as you can.
When your contact agrees to help you, don't stop there. Ask him/her a
follow-up question. An example would be, “Thanks, John, for agreeing to
talk to people about what I offer. I really appreciate it. Can I ask you a
question? In the circles that you run in, who might you think would be
able to help me?”
Guiding your contact into thinking of potential
opportunities can get the ball rolling. Empty promises will not get you
results. Educated ”yesses” will.
Preparing Your Support Network
Carefully choose the individuals who are going to
help you emotionally. Creating a team of unsupportive players will
undoubtedly make your job search that much more difficult. Let your
supporters know how it is that they can help you. If you don’t want
unsolicited advice, let them know. Prepare them to be the motivators you
Example: “John, thanks for agreeing to be part of my
support system. I wanted to share with you my feelings regarding the job
search process and how I see you fitting in. At times I may just need to
ramble and vent and I just need a friendly shoulder to lean on. I will not
be necessarily looking for answers, but rather a sympathetic ear. Do you
think you will be able to help me out on this?”
Make a conscious choice as to whom you are going to
confide in. Make sure that have the following characteristics: supportive,
non-judgmental, positive, a motivator, a sense of humor, and reliable.
Realize You Are Job Hunting ALL of the Time …
whether you realize it or not. Companies have job openings constantly and
your contacts often are aware of these opportunities. When you freely
discuss your negative work habits, two things are likely to occur:
- Your contacts will know of a ”hidden” opportunity
and will not feel comfortable referring you
- When you are actively looking for employment, you
will be surprised at how many of your contacts will not return your
Certified in all three areas of the job search—Certified Interview
Coach ™ (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Nationally
Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)—Linda Matias is qualified to assist you
in your career transition, whether it be a complete career makeover,
interview preparation, or resume assistance. She is also the author of
"How to Say It: Job Interviews" (Prentice Hall, August 2007). You can
contact Linda Matias at linda @ careerstrides.com or visit her Website
www.careerstrides.com for additional career advice and to view