Generally speaking, want ads (including online job boards) represent
about 15-20% of available jobs. Positions available through professional
recruiters and placement agencies likewise account for about 15-20%. So,
where do the other roughly 60-70% of available jobs come from? You've
heard it before - networking!
Think about it. If you connect with 20 networking contacts, and each
contact provides you with only one job lead every two weeks, that's 20
jobs every two weeks that you may never have heard of otherwise. Effective
networking allows you to have a whole team of people helping you find
the right position. Remember, it's often better to use the efforts of
1% of 100 people, than 100% of 1 person.
Now, to those who naturally "shmooze", networking can be a
thoroughly enjoyable process, whereas to others, it can be a burdensome,
even terrifying prospect. Not to worry - effective networking is really
quite simple. Here are a few tips to help you become an effective networker:
Prepare a list of people to contact - thoroughly research your desired
industry, position, or company, and find out who's doing the job you
want, or managing the job you want, and prepare to talk to them
Don't forget to consider talking to people within your immediate circle,
including friends, church members, neighbours, colleagues, your doctor,
your CPA, fellow association members, etc. (Your local banker and real
estate agent know about new busineses opening in the area)
Set goals for yourself - for example, 5 new contacts per week, or
10, whatever is realistic for you. In a short time, you'll have a wealth
of networking and contact information that could lead you to your next
and/or ideal position.
Don't specifically ask your networking contacts for a job - rather,
ask them for advice, suggestions, information, feedback, or names of
other people who might be helpful (but leave a resume with them regardless)
Prepare a concise, focused introduction of yourself and the reason
for your call. When you meet with your contact, ask your questions,
actively listen, and be certain to share your particular skills, goals,
etc., so that they can better match you with the right people and the
Develop a network contact tracking system - each and every time you
get a lead, fill out an index card with the person's full name, company,
address, telephone, email, and fax. Send them a letter thanking them
for their time, include a copy of your resume, and follow up.
Above all, be courteous, professional, and positive, always respect
their time and assistance, and thank them (also a good idea to be willing
to return the favour somewhere down the road).
Effective networking is a fundamental component to the complete career
marketing package. By all means, review the want ads, check out the online
job boards, send out targeted resume campaigns (we can help you with this),
and network, network, network!
Ross Macpherson is the President of Career Quest, a Certified Professional
Resume Writer, and a Career Success Coach who has helped thousands of
motivated professionals advance their careers. To receive more valuable
career advice, sign up to join his monthly newsletter "Career Quest
Café" by visiting www.yourcareerquest.com.