Written by Nancy Fraasch, Career Counselor
A client recently told me that he had applied for 1,300 jobs and got zero job offers! That is a low rate of return on a huge investment of effort. He had been using Indeed.com exclusively to source jobs leads and that was taking up most of his job search time.
If you are not getting the results you want, it is a sign that you need to do something different. Yes, people do get jobs from job search websites, but less than 20 percent of jobs are filled by this method. The other 80 percent are filled by networking.
Networking is simply talking to people you know – your friends, family, neighbors, former co-workers, and professional contacts. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who is hiring. A promising networking opportunity can happen anywhere – at a conference, a friend’s dinner party, or even a chance encounter at church or the gym. Other networking opportunities are intentionally planned. In any scenario, it is up to you to make a positive impression. When the right job is available, your contacts will know that you are the perfect fit.
When you network with professional contacts, you are not asking for a job. Instead, you are researching potential jobs and prospective employers. You are picking the brain of someone who knows about the kind of work you seek. Review your LinkedIn contacts and your Facebook friends to build your networking list. Be brave when you request a meeting. You only need about 20 minutes of a person’s precious time.
The meeting is all yours; you set it up and you guide the conversation. Never assume that the person knows what sort of job opportunities you seek. Always start with a 30-second introduction of your employment goals. Not a history of your previous titles and employers. What matters most is your experience, your strengths, and your career goals. You are giving contacts enough information so they can help you get your dream job.
After sharing your career direction, start asking questions. You may want to know specifics about their position, the culture of their company, how to transition into their field, etc. Always ask “Who do you know that would be good for me to talk to?” and “What companies do you recommend?” If you are not getting information that fits, then you may need to be more specific about companies, industries, and areas of interest.
If you take my advice, your network will grow. Think about it this way: If 80 percent of jobs are filled by who you know, then 80 percent of your job search should be spent cultivating your network, setting up meetings, and talking with your contacts.
To learn how to network like a boss, sign up for our 6-Week Job Hunt Series: Get Hired Faster & Easier at https://www.jobpartners.org/calendar. The course begins January 25 and meets Mondays and Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.