Whether you are looking for your first job, hoping to change careers, or trying to find a new job in your field, chances are that you are already familiar with the term "networking." Certainly, the best way to achieve success in your job search is to reach out to people who are already in the field. What you may not know, however, is that the majority of job openings are not filled from job advertisements or recruiters. In fact, up to 80 percent of all job openings are filled as a direct result of networking.
While you may be aware of the need to network, the prospect of doing this may seem a bit daunting. It doesn't have to be. Here are some ways that you can maximize your chances of landing the perfect job.
- Talk to your friends and family members. This may seem fairly obvious, but if you are looking for a new job, someone in your immediate circle may know of an opportunity that would be perfect for you. Close friends and family members can fill you in on the job and the company's dynamics, and can also advocate for you as a reference.
- Keep in touch with former co-workers. If you have been in the workforce, you know that people always have good intentions when it comes to communicating with former co-workers. However, all too often, we get caught up in a new situation, and lose track of people with whom we once shared eight hours a day! In fact, these people can be a great source of information and can give you a heads up if an appropriate job becomes available at their new company. You will have an advantage in that this individual has already worked with you, and can be a great reference. Many companies offer their employees a referral bonus for bringing in qualified candidates. Your being hired can directly benefit your former co-worker, and this is a great incentive!
- Get involved in your community. If you are out of work, use the time to volunteer for a local nonprofit organization. Not only will you be helping people, you will also have a chance to meet new people who may be looking for someone just like you! Not everyone who volunteers is out of work. Some people are given time off by their employers to help out in the community, and the fact that you are doing the same thing will give you a distinct advantage. Political organizations are also a great place to meet like-minded individuals who may know of job opportunities.
- Join a professional organization. There are professional organizations in every city that offer people the opportunity to get together and learn from one another. These groups are often chapters of national organizations, and meet once a month. These groups usually offer training and job placement assistance,
- Join an online community. No matter what field you are in, there is an online community of people who are interested in communicating with others. Groups have set up message boards and online chats, and discussions can lead to job leads. It's fun to chat with other people who are in your field, and a great place to exchange ideas and advice. If nothing else, you can commiserate with others who are in a similar situation.
You might also want to consider talking people from your church, your children's school, or even your college alumni association. Certainly, if you cast a wide net, you will be able to find the job of your dreams!