Did you know over 80% of all jobs are acquired by networking? A survey done in conjunction with LinkedIn determined that the majority of jobs are unpublished so sending resumes should only be a small part of your plan to acquire a position. Your focus should be on networking.
So how do we start the process of networking to find work? If you were asked where networking begins, you might say, “When you see someone you want to meet or make eye contact or shake hands or say something”. Networking really begins when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. Tony Robbins calls is “Peak State”. Jonathan Sprinkles calls it “Position”. It is about your attitude, confidence, and determination. Looking for a job is a project, treat it like one. Every project begins with research. You need to know exactly what you have to sell. The product is you. What are your benefits, what are you good at? What are your specific interests? Next you need to determine who your target market is, the employers who need your talents. Every project begins with research.
Next you have to develop a plan. You are looking for a few well connected people. How many next contacts are you going to make each week? How are you going to make the contacts? Who do you know that can assist you? Did you know that most people are hired by people they know? Most people find work from their friends and contacts, so make a list of your current contacts: family, friends, previous employers, current work associations, meetups, chambers of commerce, civic groups, women’s groups, business associations, places of worship, religious events, sports groups, hobby clubs, neighborhood associations, school alumni, attending talks, coffee shops, charity and volunteer groups, networking groups, and of course online. Start a search online for the best contacts. LinkedIn is one of the best resources for information on companies and people to contact. There are discussion board companies like Indeed.com and Simplyhired.com that can provide information you need.
How important is social media? If 60% of employers are checking prospective employees social media sites, it is very important. The industries like information technology and sales have even higher percentages, as much as 75%. Also, 49% of employers who use social media to screen prospective employees report information found was a reason for refusing employment. So check your social media sites for photos and videos that are inappropriate, comments that are discrimatory, display of bad habits, or even posts about previous employers.
Are you average? No one wants a mediocre employee. So how can you be different? In a book that is beneficial to both those who are seeking work and those who are seeking workers, Harvard Professor Todd Rose wrote The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness, and gives this advice “My hope is to use this book to start a conversation that surfaces this basic assumption we’ve made about human potential (like the ideas of the average person), and help people to see that it’s actually the thing that’s holding us back. Lou Adler’s book “The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting is an excellent resource for employees and employers on performance-based hiring.
Millions of people are unemployed. Many companies are receiving six times more applicants for open positions. The average unemployment duration is about eight months. Be open to transitioning from your current or past position to alternate positions. A mentor can be very beneficial in making transitions. And, of course, you can always consider be an entrepreneur and start your own business.
Here are a few networking tip for job searches:
- Do a sample interview with your friends and ask for their feedback.
- Memorize your accomplishments and also have a written copy
- Ask for referrals and follow up with thank you notes.
- Create a log of your contacts, interviews, and emails.
- Always bring a note book and pen with you and take notes.
Here are a few tips for employers:
- Look for prospective employees at events.
- Use performance-based employment practices.
- Make sure your website has opportunities listed.
- Ask questions and listen for responses that demonstrate the qualities for which you are looking.
- Look for differences that indicate non-average thinking.
Remember, networking is an acquired skill and must be consistently improved, whether you are an employee, contract employee, or employer.