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Career Networking Tips: Advantages of Networking for Job Seekers
Networking offers many advantages for job-seekers in this tough economic times. According to the Wall Street Journal, 94% of successful job seekers claim that effective career networking tips and strategies made all the difference for them.
Since 80% of all jobs are filled without employer advertising, networking can help job seekers find non-advertised jobs in the hidden job market.
Job seekers can increase their odds of getting these hidden jobs by getting recommendations and referrals from associates, family or friends of employers as well as company employees, vendors or some other company-associated contacts. Having effective networking skills can give you an edge over other job hunters.
Of course, you can also find information about hidden jobs by going online and visiting the career and employment webpages of your target companies. You can network online and electronically.
Anything you can do to get an edge over other job seekers can help you land a job faster. So, networking online and electronically can be helpful in your job search. However, networking in person can be far more effective in getting a job. By talking directly to people working for your target company, you can get information not just about currently available non-advertised jobs but also about any job that is going to be available in the near future. For example, positions that will need to be filled when someone retires, relocates or resigns.
More importantly, you might get recommendations and referrals from employer contacts or company-associated contacts if you manage to connect well or even impress them during networking. Getting referrals and recommendations can really help your job application stand out from other job seekers.
Now, for the hard part….
How do you network effectively if you’re shy or networking-challenged?
The problem is that most people hate networking. Most people who are willing to network usually do not have the necessary skills for effective networking. If you’re one of the lucky few that can comfortably and effectively network with others, then you can easily use your networking skills to find available non-advertised jobs and soon-to-be-available jobs. Hopefully, you can also get recommendations and referrals.
Personally, I hate networking when it is forced and strategic. I like it when it happens naturally and I can have good conversations and make real connections with people. I’m terrible when it comes to making small talk. I especially hate making strategic small talk during networking functions. It makes me feel like I’m trying to manipulate someone or that I’m begging for something. As you can probably guess, I’m pretty lousy when it comes to traditional networking. There are creative ways of networking that can make the process less uncomfortable.
As a job hunter, it’s very important for you to educate yourself and develop good networking skills.
Here are career networking tips:
Networking can be as simple as talking with an old friend or acquaintance by phone or while having a cup of coffee. You can also do it by email.
- You can ask them how they like their job or career.
- You can ask them for advice about a career in an industry that you are interested in pursuing. They might have some information or know some people in that industry that can help you.
- You can ask them about any current or future job openings in their company. Even if they don't know, they might be able to refer you to people who can help you and give you other insider information.
The best case scenario is that your friends can put in a good word for you at their company or at least, give you names of people that can do it.
Where do you find networking contacts?
- Your family, friends, friend's family and their friends.
- Your previous co-workers and bosses as well as company vendors.
- Your professors, instructors and coaches.
- Your school or community career office networking list or university alumni association members.
- Members of clubs and other organizations in which you belong.
Any information you get from networking or having an informational interview can give you an edge. It can help you get an interview and help you you present yourself better during the job application process. If you're very lucky, your networking contact can even help you get hired quickly.
I tend to be timid when it comes to networking for myself, but fearless when it comes to networking for my friends, co-workers or even previous bosses.
A previous supervisor called me and told me how scared she was about not being able to get a job. I could sense the desperation in her voice. Immediately after the phone call ended, I called one of the executives for our company and made my recommendation. She told me later on that they set-up an interview one hour after our conversation and she was hired the same day. Of course, it made a huge difference that I really liked and respected my previous supervisor.
Another networking experience led to a surprising result. A friend was networking for another friend and called me about possible job openings available. I didn't know, but I called HR and managed to set-up an interview for this person. The timing of my phone call could not have been more perfect. HR was willing to hold off on interviewing other candidates until after my friend's (friend's) interview. But, this person never called or showed up for the interview. Her reason? She did not believe that the job was real because the pay rate was too high. It would have paid her more than quadruple what she was currently earning. I guess some people do not get the advantages of networking no matter how much you try to help them.
You have to network effectively and consistently in order to be successful in landing a job. With practice, you can get better at it.
If you’re extremely shy or seriously networking-challenged, here’s an easier way to network effectively…
You can volunteer for a charitable organization in your community and network with other volunteers. Did you know that many executives and employees of major companies do a lot of volunteer work? By volunteering alongside these potential company-associated contacts and talking to them, you can get valuable information about available hidden jobs as well as soon-to-be-available jobs.
Some volunteering opportunities are more obvious. If you want to work in any hospital, you can try volunteering there. It’s a really good way to meet important hospital-associated contacts. Volunteers are valued in all organizations. So, don’t hesitate to say, “hello” and introduce yourself or talk to top hospital executives when they don’t look busy with employees, patients or their families.
For other industries, you have to be more creative. You can volunteer in your field of interest or you can volunteer for a non-profit that is popular for people in your industry. For example, many tech executives and employees for major companies in Silicon Valley, California volunteer for the Second Harvest Food Bank. You can talk to these potential contacts and try to get information about their companies as well as any available job opportunities while you’re doing your volunteering tasks; you can also talk to them if you meet them at any non-profit meeting.
Check out these sites to find volunteering and networking opportunities:
* Servenet.org – Find volunteering opportunities in your area. Find volunteering resources.
* VolunteerMatch.org - Find volunteering opportunities in your area.
By volunteering and networking, you can make a difference in your community and you can meet important contacts who can potentially help you get a job.
Try to relax when networking and talking to other volunteers. Keep in mind that people who volunteer tend to be very nice and helpful. So, don’t hesitate to ask them questions and advice about applying for a job in their company. Just be respectful of them and you should have a positive networking experience.
There are many networking advantages. By applying career networking tips effectively, you can get a job quicker and easier.
You Can Enjoy Many Networking Advantages: By Applying Effective Career Networking Tips, You Might Even Get Your Dream Job
Networking to Get a Job
Want Career Networking Tips and Tools? You Can Find Volunteering and Networking Opportunities By Using These Resources
- 8 Tips for Effective Networking
How many people ever get jobs by just cold calling or answering advertisements? Depending on where you live, and the posts available, the answer is seldom more than 50%. Find out how you can improve your odds of getting a job...
- How to Research Your Target Companies
Get useful information and resources for your job search. Sections useful for California job-seekers are: 1,500 job hotlines, calendar of job and career events, career centers and libraries.
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Learn more about networking. Get sources for networking contacts.
- Second Harvest Food Bank
Get information on volunteering opportunities. You can network with tech executives and employees for major companies in Silicon Valley, California.