It could be a coincidence if you believe in one, but my friend called me to say ‘thank you’ for helping his brother’s friend get a job in the company that my brother works in. The key here is that I don’t know my friend’s brother, let alone his brother’s friend, and am pretty sure my brother did not know my friend’s brother’s friend. But, it did not matter.
Job networking knows no barriers. That should be your mantra, especially if you are a novice in the job market, and more so if you are an experienced campaigner. Most of the job openings are filled by word of mouth or via networking; the power of networking is underestimated by most of them for various reasons, the key here is not about self-promotion but rather building relationships.
Why job networking is best way to find a job:
- It is more convenient for the employer to hire via internal reference because they like to deal with people they already know and a personal reference will carry more credibility.
- Employers can avoid advertising cost.
- Employer can save scanning 100s’ of resumes and cover letters as the referring employee already knows what the need is and is likely to refer a suitable candidate.
Let’s examine some of the ways for successful job search networking.
Job networking source #1: Facebook/Orkut/MySpace/etc.,
With social medias like Facebook, it is easy to confuse between knowing people vs. having connections.
I may have 300 friends on Facebook but only 20 of them will come to my rescue if I needed a job or career change. Probably 10 of them will personally endorse me. And, 5 of them will hire (or re-hire) me if I decide to move back to their company. In this example, mere, 7% of all the people on my Facebook friends list translate to ‘connections’ from a career perspective.
The point here is not to abandon your existing friends or going out and making new friends just to increase your numbers, no. This is not a probability game. The point here is that with such powerful social media advantage on your side, it is very easy to make ‘connections’, if you are willing.
If you are in college, make friends from your senior class, keep in touch with them. Keep yourself constantly updated as to how their interviews are going. Where and how they had landed in a job; do not be a stalker but just project yourself as an enthusiast. This will help you gain knowledge about what’s hot in the market, what to do, where to apply, where not to apply (very important time saver) and sometimes, if the company where your Senior is working happens to be hiring, guess who gets to know about it first.
If you are working, try to branch out, make an effort to know people who are already doing what you want to do. People are more willing than you can imagine when it comes to helping. It is our hesitancy to open ourselves to their help that limits our opportunities. The first step has to be from your side, network and seek advice. Feel free to use the advantage of social media.
I always refer to internet as the kitchen knife, put it to the right use, you can feed yourself and others OR use it carelessly – you can hurt yourself and others. Same way, it’s easy to while time on social media but at the same time it’s as easy to make it count.
Job networking source #2: Blogs/Groups/Forums: When my friend and I were trying to escape the night shift jobs and do something different with our lives, we did not know where to turn to. Due to our humble backgrounds, we did not have many people in close proximity who could become our coaches or guides. Lucky for us, there were groups, forums or discussion boards on any topic imaginable.
Thanks to my friend’s research skills, we found groups that matched our interest on yahoo and we started posing our questions. We were amazed to see just how many people have asked the same questions before us. Every time we posed a question, someone would share the thread where that question was answered in detail. Long story short, from the stage of being clueless, we went on to get what we wanted within six months, all thanks to yahoo group’s folks.
There are literally 100s’ of groups, forums, discussion boards, blogs out there on whatever your question maybe. We have a tendency to think that our question is unique and has never been asked before. However, truth is quite opposite. Not only that same question was asked before, but chances are it was answered with 100s of alternatives.
The list of forums, groups, discussion boards you are a member of will become your secret arsenal in the area of networking. You are building a special network, one that consists of friends and colleagues who are virtual yet, more readily available than your actual friends/colleagues.
I know lot of friends who solve critical/difficult issues at their jobs by seeking (without dwelling too much private information) help from their favorite blogs/groups/boards.
By the time you apply for a job, ensure that you have enrolled in at least one group/board in your specialization.
Job networking source #3: LinkedIn
In the recent past, LinkedIn has evolved into a prime portal for careers for all levels. We will go so far to say that if you want to be hired at a decent company, make sure you have presence on LinkedIn. I still get offers from companies based on my profile on LinkedIn. It is also a great place to expand your circle.
LinkedIn suggests, based on your profile, people who you may be interested to be in touch with.
Job networking source#4: YouTube/website/blog
This may be applicable to people with in depth knowledge of any area of interest. It doesn’t have to be related to your studies at all either. You will be surprised as to how many people get in touch with young entrepreneurs, investors, people who share their interest and people who can add wheels to the ideas through YouTube videos and their own websites. This is a good way to network not only for a potential job but for a potential business opportunity of your own. Caveat, however is, do not start your YouTube channel or website with a sole purpose of getting a job rather start it with whatever you are passionate about.
These some of the places where you can network for jobs.