Networking can help you…
1. Get the word out that you are in a job search.
2. Gain advice about your job search techniques.
3. Uncover job leads in the “hidden job market.”
4. Get referrals to other individuals or organizations that you’re targeting.
5. Learn more about specific positions, fields, or industries.
6. Gather information about specific companies.
7. Expand your network.
8. Keep your current network alive while meeting new people.
9. Help others get what they want, even if it’s a warm introduction from you.
It’s important to let your network know that you are in a job search. They can’t help you if they don’t know! And without clearly defined job targets, i.e., specific positions, industries, and companies you are seeking, it can be even harder for your network to help. Job seekers often tell me, “I’m open. I’ll work for any company or industry.” While that may be true, the more focused you are, the better your job search; the easier you make it for others to help you.
Your network can provide you feedback on your job search techniques and refer you to other individuals or organizations. They can also offer insight into a new position, field, or industry if you are contemplating a job or career change. And, your network can share with you what it’s like to work at a particular company.
Hidden Job Market
Many job openings aren’t advertised. Considered the “hidden job market,” it’s your job to uncover those leads. Employers oftentimes go to their employees for referrals when trying to fill an open position. Imagine if your name was recommended. It clearly puts you in front of other candidates. I encourage my clients to create a list of target companies and then do an advanced search on LinkedIn to identify contacts that work at those companies. Oftentimes it’s your second or third level contacts that are going to be most helpful in your search. Ask your first level contacts to introduce you to your second level contacts that work at your target companies.
Harvey MacKay, business guru, and author of Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door and Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, encourages those just laid-off to immediately start volunteering. Consider volunteering on a high-profile fundraising event for a local charity. Not only will it allow you the opportunity to develop or fine-tune your leadership, fundraising, and/or speaking skills, it will give you a chance to network with people in high places. It will also give you a reason to get out of the house and make you feel much better.