NetworkingMonday, 26 March 2012
Today on Let's Get Working, we'll be talking about networking and why it's important.
What is networking?
Networking is about making social and business contacts that you can share information, ideas, resources and opportunities with. In doing this you build up a list of people that can keep an eye out for you and inform you about any available jobs they hear of. Using these contacts you can form an excellent support system to assist you when looking for a job.
Why should I start networking?
When it comes to networking the numbers speak for themselves. 60% to 80% of all jobs aren't advertised and instead are found through networking and word of mouth. With numbers that high, can you afford to ignore this valuable method of job hunting?
As the old saying goes, 'It's not what you know, but who you know'.
How do I build my network?
Your network is easy to build; you have probably already started networking without knowing it.
The first step is to tell people that you are looking for a job and ask if they know of any suitable places that are hiring. You can start networking with any one. They can be a friend or family member, a previous co-worker, other members of any volunteer groups or clubs you are part of and even complete strangers on internet sites such as LinkedIn.
The more people that know you are looking for work, the greater your chance of finding employment.
The second step is to regularly check with your contacts to find out if they have any new information or opportunities for you. It is important to remain in contact with people in your network, otherwise they might forget about you.
To help your contacts remember your information it is helpful to make cards with your contact information on them. You may even include the type of work you are looking for to further improve your chances of getting a job. These cards not only serve the purpose of keeping you in touch with people, they can also pass these cards on to potential employers for you.
Things to keep in mind while networking
- You should try to expand your list of contacts. Talking to the same people all the time limits your exposure to more jobs and employers.
- Be friendly. Doing some small talk before going straight to business can help show that you care about the other person and are not just interested in the information you can get from them.
- Return the favour. Remember networking is a two way street, you should be helping your contacts with information just as much as they help you. People will be less inclined to share things with you if all you do is take, take, take.
- Clean up your social networking pages. All that hard work you put into networking can be undone very quickly, if your Facebook or Twitter page makes you look like a party animal.
- Make a bunch of contact cards with your information on them and give them to your contacts. They can in turn give them to potential employers to contact you.