NETWORKS: The main tool for job search

Networking in job search accounts for the majority of job interviews and approximately 60% of secured jobs. According to the 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation report, 40% of job seekers found work through personal contacts and 21% from online social media. Merriam Webster defines networking as “the exchange of information or services between individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Therefore, networking involves developing relationships with those who can make progress in their job search and use them. The contacts in your network become catalysts for your job search.

Networking may seem difficult, but it is not. It takes time, effort, communication, and asking for information or help. The biggest obstacles are overcoming the fear of rejection and reaching out to others. Although networking may require reaching out to strangers, most involve people who have been introduced to contact. Rarely, it will cold call.

People like to help others and welcome opportunities to do so. Also, people like to be recognized and admired for their expertise. Politely asking for your help is generally appreciated.

Networking tidbits:

• Contacts provide useful information for job search and understanding.

• Contacts provide references to those who can provide information to advance the progression of your search.

• Contacts provide introductions to hiring managers from someone they know and trust.

To establish an effective network:

• Create a list of the people you know and how they could help.

• Create personal network business cards.

• Practice your verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Things like tone of voice and an honest smile go a long way.

• Develop a 30- to 60-second elevator pitch that highlights what you’re looking for, why, and what you’re looking for from your contact.

• Communicate with those on your list using your elevator pitch.

• Focus on building relationships with your contacts in an effort to help them, if possible. There is a universal law of reciprocity according to which those who are helped wish to reciprocate in kind.

• Request a short (10-15 minute) briefing on the position you are seeking, a presentation from someone who can advise you on the position you are seeking, and / or a presentation to the hiring manager. Most are willing to offer advice; therefore, ask for advice instead of a job. There is a strong inner drive to be consistent in meeting commitments.

• Prepare intelligent questions related to the position sought.

• Take note.

• Exchange business cards.

• Follow up at the end of your meeting and periodically afterward.

In addition to personal contacts, excellent contacts can be developed through social networks and forums. Through these markets, people become familiar and these acquaintances become sources of contacts. Join and participate in forums in your area of ​​expertise. Let them know your interest and start communicating.