Job Tip Thursday: Network, Network, Network
You've updated your resume, determined your skills and capabilities, and figured out the kind of position you want. Now, it's time to spread the word that you're looking for new employment. Seventy-five percent of new positions are found though the "hidden job market," those jobs that are unadvertised but filled through word-of-mouth. While you should continue to apply for jobs online, it's also best to meet with as many people as possible during your search.
- Make a list of all your contacts. Don't leave anyone out. List neighbors, friends, family, friends of family, former colleagues and managers, customers, members of your church, team mates, club members, or clients. You never know from where the next job offer will come.
- Set up 5 networking meetings a week. On Monday morning, reach out to ten to fifteen contacts and schedule a time to meet for coffee or a meal. Let them know you're looking for work and would like to pick their brains about their professions or just get a few tips for your search.
- Practice your elevator pitch. Prior to your meetings, have a succinct paragraph ready that summarizes what you can do for a company and the type of position you would like to land.
For example: I have 15 years of experience in data analysis and reporting for financial institutions, ultimately running a team of 30 individuals. I researched and implemented new tech that saved the company $60,000 a year. I'd love to use my management experience at a large bank finding inefficiencies and training teams on new technologies.
- Ask questions.Most professionals enjoy talking about their jobs and accomplishments at work. While the goal of the meeting is to let your contact know you're looking for a job, ask questions to learn about their companies and roles. They could lead to a few other people that your contact knows who would be better equipped to help you land a job.
- Follow up. Send a note or email thanking your contacts for their time. Not only is this the right thing to do, it helps maintain that relationship and keeps you at the top of their minds when a potential position opens up.
Not only does this spread the word that you're looking for a position, it gets you out interacting with other individuals, which contributes to your morale. It's also good practice for interviews, as you build the language you'll use to talk about yourself, your past professional experience, and your accomplishments.