What’s the first thing you’d do if you needed a job? Go online and look for job vacancies? Take a look at the listings in your local paper? Take a look in the trade press to see if anyone in your sector is recruiting?
Whilst, these are all good ideas, and should always form part of your job search, you need view these activities in the context of one important fact; well over half of the jobs available at any one time will never be advertised to the public.
Though at first this statistic might seem shocking, it makes sound sense. After all even at the best of times, businesses tend to be fairly averse to spending more money than they have to, especially if there is a free alternative. Recruiting new employees can actually be a very expensive business when both the cost of advertising and the time personnel have to put into sifting through applications and interviewing candidates is considered. For this reason, if a business can find capable people for free through the recommendation of their existing workers, they will. These opportunities form a huge ‘invisible jobs market’ full of posts that general public will never know are open.
When you bear this in mind, spending hours searching through job adverts, whether you use the internet or a printed medium, seems less likely to be the best way of getting yourself into your preferred line of work. Indeed, experts insist your search will be more fruitful if you organize your time spent looking for work according to the following proportions; 20% responding to advertised vacancies, 20% sending speculative applications to companies you’d like to work for, 60% networking.
Anyone Can Network
Despite this, many people looking for work will spend 100% of their time replying to adverts! Often this is because people assume that networking is the exclusive preserve of high flying executives. However, this is not the case. No matter what is you want to do, networking can help you get there, as it increases the number of people than can either recommend you for, or at least let you know about, jobs that aren’t being otherwise advertised.
Increasing your number of contacts isn’t as hard as you might think. You can start by drawing up a list of everyone you know, no matter who they are, and dropping them a line to see if they know of anybody who might know anyone who can help you. You’d be very surprised at what this might throw up!
Of course, another way of finding leads is to attend networking events, designed to allow you to go and meet people face to face and forge links. Another vital tool to use is the power of social media, with outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin playing an increasingly large role in modern recruitment.
Arranging and Conducting Meetings
Once you find a lead, the next step is to set up an informal meeting. The best way to do this is generally with a phone call. It’s best only to ask for 15-20 minutes of the person’s time, even though they will usually be happy to give you more.
You need to make sure ahead of your meeting that you’re clear on what it is you are hoping to find out find out in terms of the advice and information they might be able to give you. Normally people are a lot more talkative when dealing with a subject they are an expert on, such as themselves. Asking leading questions about their own experiences often throws up useful information.
Try not to dominate the conversation by steering the topic towards your own needs to often. Part of your aim is to build meaningful relationships. Talking about more trivial things than your job search is part of the parcel of that. Remember, this is a two way exchange, so think about what you have to offer. Finally, try and keep a record of all the people you meet, as it can be easy to lose track when you are networking hard. This is something to avoid, as keeping in touch is the whole point of the exercise!