By Dolores Seright, CPC
Searching for a job in 2011 is a new game with changing rules.
The March 2011 10th Annual CareerXroads Source of Hire Report: By the Numbers says that “nearly 65 percent of all openings are filled through internal movement and referrals.” Learning to become an effective networker can increase your opportunities to find job openings and hear the exciting words, “You’re hired!”
Develop a List of People You Know
If you have never had to network before, it can sound frightening. To help you take those first steps, think about the people in your life that you already know.
This list will include:
- Colleagues you work with currently
- Former employers and people you have worked with in the past
- People you come into contact with through organizations, schools, churches
- Your neighbors
- People at places where you do business
You Need a Plan
Develop a plan to increase your interaction and involvement with all of these people. High visibility during your job search will help them think about you when they hear about job openings or meet someone that may know about potential jobs.
Things you can do include:
- Participate in events and activities at places where you are already a member.
- Volunteer for committees to become better known.
- Talk to your neighbors.
- Smile and say hello to the person in line with you at the grocery and other places.
- Reconnect with former friends and colleagues using social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Tell everyone about your job search goals and what type of position you are looking for.
Expand Your Circle
Remember that it’s not just the people you know that can help you, it is the larger circle that includes the people they know that can be your best resource.
- Join professional or social organizations. Use www.meetup.com to search for groups close to your zip code.
- Search for meetings, conferences or training session in your area of interest. Some are free.
- Find calendars of networking events in your local area and plan to attend on a regular basis. Build relationships with the people you meet.
- Use the internet to locate job support networking groups both online and in your geographic area. You can get excellent information and training, as well as make valuable connections at these sessions.
- Join groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. Listen and observe first to understand the dynamics of the group before joining in discussions. Do not rush to let everyone know you are job searching. Build relationships first.
- Ask your friends and connections if they know anyone that works for a company you are interested in. They may be willing to introduce you.
An Example of How It Can Work
I want to share a story of a friend whose networking experience may help you understand the process. Her name is Beth, and Beth was living and working in Indiana when she decided to move to Arizona to be closer to her daughter. She resigned from her company and relocated to Phoenix. Jobs in her field were tough to find in the economically challenged Phoenix economy.
Beth began aggressively networking in her job search. Her experience was in printing, and she searched LinkedIn and connected with former employers and colleagues. She eventually heard about an open position with a printing company in Texas and interviewed with the company. She received a job offer, but didn’t really want to relocate away from Arizona.
The person in Texas knew someone in California in the print business and recommended Beth. She connected with this person who had a contact in the Phoenix area and helped Beth meet and interview with this Phoenix firm where she eventually received a job offer and is currently employed. The entire process took nine months.
Beth had some difficult times, but she was very focused on her goal. She became an expert networker and recommends others see the value of using this tool.
Be Consistent and Committed in Your Journey to New Skills
Build a strong network, stay visible, be clear and focused about your goals. Communicate on a regular basis and be disciplined in your activities.
Be sure to share your experiences and your success!
Dolores Seright, CPC, is a certified professional coach and her passion is teaching people the skills they need to pursue their passion, become an expert in their field and excel in their business. Her experience as a regional business director for a corporation combined with her experience as a business owner gives her a unique ability to understand the challenges you face and work with you to achieve higher levels of success. Dolores also volunteers as a career coach at Fresh Start in Phoenix and facilitates workshops on job searching in today’s marketplace. Learn more about Dolores at www.PassportToYourDreams.com and connect with her at www.facebook.com/phoenix.coach.