Jul 3, 2012
If you are currently on a job search one of the most useful methods to find new job opportunities is to tap into your network of friends and previous professional relationships. Some people call this ‘networking’: tapping into the hidden job market. Aside from going through normal channels of finding new career opportunities, such as looking to the Sunday paper classifieds, jobs section, or searching monster.com, using your network of professional contacts will enable you to see job opportunities that may not be available today but will be available in the very near future.
For example, say you are looking for an accounting position and you have become aware of an opportunity that has not been published or actively recruited for at this point. What the hold up is for this position is funding, as it has not become available as of yet, thus there’s an active interest by the employer at some point in the near future to fill this position. With you being made aware of this opportunity gives you a chance, before any other potential applicant, to submit your letter of interest, and to promote your availability and interest in learning more about this opportunity.
So the question is, who would you include in your network of professional contacts? Who would these people be? â• ¦and how can they really help you in securing a new career opportunity? So let’s take a quick look at a list of good sources of contacts that you can tap into to discover potential career opportunities that have yet to be advertised anywhere else.
Friends and Relatives
This goes without question. Relatives can be your wife, your brother, your parents, or your second cousin twice removed ‘ it can be anybody. Anyone who has any insight into the job market as it relates to your current job search. For example, this can be a friend or relative who works at the local dairy, and at this dairy there is an accounting position that will be available in three months. This translates to you being made aware of the future job opportunity well in advance of any other applicants.
By getting your resume to your friend, or relative, and having them pass it on to the hiring manager before any other applicant is most beneficial. Then having you follow-up with a quick phone call saying: Hi Mr. Hiring Manager, my name isâ• ¦.And I am very interested in learning more about this potential opportunityâ• ¦ This certainly gives you a leg up over any other perspective applicant.
Vendors and Previous Coworkers
These folks will more than likely be your best source for any potential job opportunities that have yet to be advertised anywhere else. Coworkers and vendors have the inside track when it comes to dealing with the businesses that they have professional relationships with.
Using our example of the accountant looking for work it would not be unusual for a vendor to be aware of an opening for an accountant at a particular business due to their normal business dealings with that prospective employer. Same with current or previous coworkers as they will be very much aware of any potential openings yet to be advertised.
One of my favorite approaches to networking for a successful job search is performing informational interviews with people within your field who may (or may not) be seeking to fill open positions within their organization. The purpose of these informational interviews is to develop a new relationship with someone who works within your industry and with whom you have no prior professional or personal relationship, established.
This person will become someone who hopefully, down the road, will be able to pass your information on to someone who may be looking to fill a position that you may be qualified for; or they may be aware of a position in another firm that you may be able to submit your resume to. They may also be someone who could pass on additional information in regards to the industry you’re working within that may be helpful in your job search.
It is very important that once you perform an informational interview that you consistently, appropriately and politely follow-up with these people to ensure that they remember who you are. Most importantly, you must show appreciation for the time they took in sitting down with you to discuss your perspective job search by sending a thank you note or any token of your appreciation.
Many people attend job fairs in hopes of finding a new position that will fulfill their current career needs. If memory serves me correctly the last job fair I attended had well over 5000 people in attendance. Many of the perspective employers who had booths set up for these fairs had few positions to offer but more than enough interested applicants.
The job fair really is best suited for the individual who desires to create relationships with the HR representatives from each of the companies who have booths set up at these fairs. Once you attend a job fair it is important to make sure that you have the business card of the representative of the company so you contact them for future career opportunities listed at their firm.
Now you have a name, phone number and e-mail address so you can keep in constant contact with them in the event that a position that fits your skill sets becomes available at that particular firm.
Over the past 5 to 8 years, social networking has become a very critical component of any professional’s job search strategy. By joining websites like LinkedIn you gain access to thousands, no, tens of thousands, of professionals in your designated career specialty. You have an opportunity to network and inform all these individuals across the entire United States of your interest in securing a new position.
Likewise, you are in a unique opportunity to lend assistance to someone else seeking employment information as they contact you for any opportunities that you may be aware. Whether it be LinkedIn or FaceBook or twitter, all these social networking sites give you an advantage that was not available to the average person 10 years ago.
While I do not put a lot of stock in the social networking sites for an active job search campaign, I definitely think it is well worth your time to investigate each of the sites and determine if they are best suited for your individual job search situation.
Networking in itself is only the start. In the nutshell, networking is an opportunity to create and leverage relationships so that over time will prove fruitful and beneficial to your job search efforts.
By Dave LaShier