If you are currently searching for a job, networking has never been so important. It’s not enough to have a large network of industry and former work contacts. You must be able to provide value to your network by not only hitting contacts up, but offering to help others use your contacts to benefit their own job search.
Think of networking as a conversation. A conversation that has give and take. If it’s all take, there won’t be a lot of value added to your contact. So make yourself useful.
In a recent article, “How to Find Unadvertised Jobs and Use Unofficial Recruiting” on TheLadders’ Career Advice, executive agent Debra Feldman gives a heap of advice on how to network for jobs that are not advertised. She provides tips that will give you an inside edge. As Feldman writes, these days “it is not just what you know or even who you know but who knows what you know.”
From the same article:
Here’s how to jump-start a campaign targeting the unadvertised or hidden job market.
1. Assemble a list of target employers. Conduct research to identify prospective companies.
2. Be proactive! Initiate contact with the hiring decision-maker. The preferred method is to obtain an introduction through a mutual contact such as a company insider, a former or current employee, trusted colleague of a hiring decision maker, respected consultant or professional adviser.
Network purposefully to develop relationships designed to establish referrals and access insider information. If you don’t have a common contact, cold calling is an effective means to get attention and start a conversation if the value proposition is compelling and meaningful to the recipient.
3. Develop a remarkable value proposition to command attention from employers. Generate trust and show an ethical character. The trick is courteously to remain front and center as the reliable solution to be remembered as new needs or challenges surface.
4. Follow up on a regular basis. Polite, persistent pings move the process forward. Offer assistance. Share an idea. Send a link. Stay on the decision-maker’s radar. Build trust and encourage interaction beyond the first contact.
Networking is all about being generous, not merely taking from your contacts. Be respectful be sure to offer your network something useful, be it a contact or information.
For more advice on networking in your job search: