We all know that networking should be one of the top priorities of professionals who aspire to find a job. However, networking is a hassle and not always effective if you don’t know how to harness your network to your benefit. No matter if you’re out and about, meeting and greeting often, it is possible that no new opportunities will come your way. People in your network could face the same challenges you face: they could have a limited number of contacts, or there could simply be no available positions at their organisations.
Here are some steps to follow if your network can’t help find a job:
Reevaluate your network
Look at the people who make up your network and think for a moment: are they all a good fit for the career path you want to pursue? For example, if you want to break into the non-profit sector, do they all work in non-for-profit organisations? How influential are they in their professional field? You should also reconsider whether you are attending the right networking events and meeting with the right people. Target primarily those networking events that are likely to provide a diverse set of professionals from associations, professional bodies and companies of your preferred industry. The key here is to figure out which network contacts align best with your personal and professional needs.
Ask for introduction instead of opportunities
As previously mentioned, sadly, people from your network cannot guarantee that they will help you land your dream job. One way to go about it is to leverage your contacts to expand your network and increase your exposure to industry events that are meaningful to you and are worth your time. The administrative assistant you knew at your college may not know of any jobs, but she can introduce you to her brilliant former colleagues who happen to work for an employment agency. So, never underestimate the power of asking for introductions in order to meet new people. These new people can give you first-hand information about a company’s culture, management style and what they seek from potential employees.
Social media is an excellent means to explore the things that an organisation didn’t intend for you to see. Check out their page on Facebook. They will probably have pictures from events, parties and team outings; these should give you a feel of the culture of the firm. But apart from that, some employees are probably tagged in these photos. Do you recognise any familiar faces? Or do you have any Facebook ‘friends’ that are connected to these people in the photos? Ask your friends discreetly how they relate to these people, and see whether they could help you come in contact with them.
Alternatively, if you come across an awesome job on LinkedIn’s recommended jobs, see whether you know someone who knows someone there. You can also use Twitter to interact with like-minded people or join Twitter Chats to find people who are interested in the same causes as you.
Set up informational interviews
The value of research and networking in the job hunt process is priceless. Informational interviews involve finding a person in your profession or who works at a company that interests you in order to learn more about the company, what they do, what kind of career paths they offer, and their advice for you. This kind of interview does not solely allow you to obtain intelligence that will help you strategise accordingly; it’s also an awesome opportunity for you to impress your connection and sell a memorable point as a potential employee.
Don’t neglect your application
Networking should complement – not replace – traditional job-search methods. As such, you should not neglect your job application because hiring managers do read applications. Clearly show them how you could add value to their operations, and what skills, qualifications and experiences would make you an outstanding fit. Craft a compelling and high-quality CV and cover letter to show the best of yourself.
Networking can be daunting and not always an effective strategy to help you find a job. If you are struggling to get a job through your network and connections, follow these tips to make a difference and increase your chances for professional success.