You already know that the best way to find a new job in today’s highly competitive environment is through networking. But what if you don’t have a good network or your contacts are not reliable? The right connections are employees or former employees and retirees of your target companies who may have internal connections. This includes those affiliated with the company or who know insiders such as vendors, suppliers, partners, consultants, bankers, auditors, customers, investors, advertisers, marketing and PR agencies, authors, board members, neighbors of employees as well as employees at competitors.
What’s hardest is figuring out where to begin a job search that will be effective and efficient leading to a timely and acceptable offer. Your network of contacts is like career insurance because they can continue to mentor you, recommend you, recruit you, refer you, guide you, support you and help you stay up to date on industry trends and needs for new talent. Your connections know you and are aware of your capabilities. By keeping in touch, you will build up trust, be able to provide assistance, stay top of mind and maintain vital relationships. You may never have to look for a new job again because you will be invited to participate in solving challenges with and for people in your network. You can also volunteer yourself for attractive new career opportunites before a position is officially available. You are more likely to be in the right place at the right time if you are always there.
Key steps on how to produce the right networking connections even while you are working and may not be an active job hunter are listed below.
- Begin choosing target employers. How many? Chose three to five, keeping it to a manageable number.You can always add to the list once you get some feedback and understand the employer market better. Emphasize quality of relationships over their quantity.
- Select companies where you can make a positive contribution and where your potential contribution can be appreciated because you have relevant background, skills and knowledge that should be obvious to the employer. If switching fields or changing roles, then show how your past achievements qualify you for the position you want next.
- Research the companies and identify their challenges. Ascertain the corporate culture and that you are a good fit.
- Prepare a presentation/résumé showing how you can solve company problems and demonstrate your ability to increase profits, reduce costs or improve process.
- Contact a company insider and share your interest with them. Ask them to help you prepare to meet with the appropriate hiring manager and ask if they will recommend you. It is always an advantage to be referred by a mutual contact.
- Be sure to send a thank you note after you meet and follow up as suggested. Organizations change and needs for new talent is unpredictable. You want to stay on their radar by periodically reminding them of your continuing interest.
- Be patient. Keep active in your industry: read, discuss, study, research and volunteer. Be visible by commenting on blogs, writing to the editor, going to meetings and making presentations. Repeat these steps until you succeed and then maintain your connections because they are your career insurance forever.
This process always works. It is reliable and produces results. In addition to identifying your next position in the hidden job market, if you network purposefully you create lifetime career insurance, connections to stay on the inside track. Eighty percent of positions are never advertised. With the right network, you will be aware of and can access unadvertised jobs even when you do not need a new job.
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Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally recognized executive talent agent and job search expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, customized senior level executive campaigns that provide lifetime career insurance. Her gift for Networking Purposefully™ banishes employment roadblocks, expands inside connections and leverages virtual relationships to accelerate targeted leads within the hidden job market.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Debra Feldman, 2011