Networking - your core job search tool
What is networking...
It does not matter whether you are looking for a job or just endeavouring to meet people (to develop your career) in your profession or sector; networking is the core activity.
Networking is all about building connections with like-minded people and organisations that you may like to work for in the future…people with similar backgrounds, education and experience.
Networking is not new, with most people doing it all the time without formally recognising and naming it.
Is networking essential…
Think about a time when you went to a function full of people that you did not know, and suddenly you see a person that you have met before. Who are you likely to approach first? Right, the person that you are familiar with. The focus of networking is to build connections between people you know and when you need some information of help you have a pool of people to contact…especially when you are developing your career.
Many jobs are never advertised and are often filled by personal recommendation via word of mouth. It is what is called the “hidden job market”, and the best way to access these jobs is via your network. It does not have to be directly from your initial contact as they know at least six other people and on it goes (build connections with your primary contacts connections).
While jobs are advertised in newspapers or websites or via recruitment agencies, many are not. This may seem like a bad thing when you are the one looking for a job. But the good news is it means that there is a hidden job market that you can tap into if you know that it’s there – and the best way of tapping in to it is by making the most of your connections and creating and building others as much as you can.
Your very own personal network is comprised of your group of friends, relatives, neighbours, current and past work colleagues, community groups and various acquaintances that you meet on a daily basis (first connections). This personal network always intersects with other similar networks (second connections), and on it builds. These first and second connections mean that you actually already have an established network on which you can immediately build. Your network never stops growing, providing you continue to nurture consistently and develop all of your expanding connections.
People who develop mature networks will often never have to apply for an advertised again (in many cases). By utilising your connections, you will swiftly obtain referrals and direct approaches from potential employers interested in your expertise.
Career development based on networking is a powerful tool applicable to all skill and job levels in the workforce.
"Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for" - Christine Comaford-Lynch