Most job vacancies are not advertised via media (newspapers, online etc) and therefore it is important to find opportunities in the 'hidden job market' through other means, such as networking.
What is it?
Networking is a way to find career opportunities through non-traditional means. It involves making connections with people who may have knowledge about available positions that are not advertised. Most of us know more people than we realise but do not realise how valuable our contacts could be to gaining employment.
Why it is useful?
Employers often rely on the advice of friends or recommendations. This means if you know someone who can recommend you to an employer, you have an advantage.
How to network
Get started by drawing up a list of people you know, which can include:
- Business contacts
- Secretaries, clerks, assistants
- Former customers, clients
- Professional societies
- Chamber of Commerce members
- Former employers
- Former co-workers
- Personal contacts, including family and friends
- Students, former classmates, alumni.
Making contact with who you know
The next step is starting to make contact with people. You may have priorities, such as those with the closest link to the type of work you are looking for. However, you do not necessarily need to make contact with those who have high positions in organisations. Anyone connected with an organisation can have valuable information about upcoming or current job vacancies.
Keeping contacts alive
Part of networking involves maintaining relationships with people who can:
- provide information on your chosen field
- give advice on your resume or skills
- refer you to others who may be able to provide advice or job leads
- keep an eye out for suitable job opportunities.
Expanding your network
Ways to expand your network include:
- joining professional associations and clubs
- being an active member of your community.