Go Get ‘Em: Why Networking is Crucial to Your Job Search

You’re unemployed, and you’ve been that way for much longer than you’re comfortable with. You started out optimistic – you’ve got some pretty good skills, and a solid work history. How hard could it be? But now, months later, you’re hunched over your laptop like Quasi-Moto, blankly clicking through job postings and sending resumes to pretty much anything that looks like it could work for you. It’s like Groundhog Day. Every day is the same.

Pssst – here’s a secret. Get off Craigslist.

Not entirely, of course, but long enough to try some new tactics. Recent studies show that – get this – up to 80% of jobs are not posted online. And, if you’re like many people, you spend upwards of 80% of your time looking there. That’s a lot of work for no result. So where are the jobs?

Many hiring managers look within a company first. Of course, that doesn’t do you much good right now. But, they also look to their professional networks, friends, and social sources. Some jobs haven’t even be created yet, even if there is a need. People are more comfortable hiring folks that they feel they know, even if it’s a reference from a trusted friend.

Here are some other ideas to get you started.

1. Reach out. Reach out more. Repeat. Start reaching out to your network – friends, old colleagues, classmates. Tell them what you’re looking for and ask them if they know anyone who’s hiring. Put aside your pride and be honest. Social networking sites like LinkedIn are a great way to meet people in your field and spread the word about your skills. Create an account and be sure to keep your resume and profile up to date – this is critical. Use the search feature to find contacts in your industry and in your area, and invite them into your network. Goal: make 100 new contacts this month.

2. Think about your perfect job. What kind of company do you want to work for? A young startup or an older, established company? What kinds of people work there? Do you thrive in a fast-paced environment, or is your work more quiet and focused?  Brainstorm ideas about your ideal workplace, and make a list of companies that seem like a great fit for you.

3. As Kenny Rogers said, “Know when to fold ’em”. If your present track isn’t working out for you, be honest with yourself – maybe it’s time to consider something new. Your skills and experience is probably transferable to a new, exciting path you hadn’t considered. Keep your mind open to new opportunities.

4. Get on the phone… and then listen. Once you have a list of companies that interest you, call them, even if they don’t have any current job postings. Don’t email, don’t send your resume. Call them or show up at their door with a genuine interest in what they do. Everybody likes to talk about themselves. Say you are intrigued by their company and would like to learn more.

5. Tell them how you will help them. Most job-seekers focus on past performance when interviewing or writing a cover letter. Instead, focus on what you believe you can bring to a position or role. Why would they want to hire you? What unique talents can you leverage to ensure success for all involved? Job-hunting is like selling a product, and the product is you – your skills, abilities, background, and personality. Make sure to spread the word about you and everything you have to offer.

6. Create a package for success. Your resume should be polished, well-written, and current. Any cover letters you write should be personalized and targeted for each position you apply for. Your LinkedIn account needs to reflect your expertise and your objective. Your appearance is important too, so dress nicely and look your best.

As always, if you need help writing an eye-catching resume, cover letter, or need help updating and optimizing your LinkedIn account, contact me anytime. I’d be happy to help.

Good luck out there!

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