beyond the recruitment consultant – staying networked in the job market

imageIf it is time for a change at work, or if you are looking for a new role in a new city, or transitioning into a new field altogether, you may find that you need to look beyond your recruitment consultant to stay updated on available opportunities and relevant job openings. Read on to learn about the job market and how you can use your own strengths to boost your search for a job. 

Have you heard of the concept of the “hidden job market” which refers to open job positions that are not posted online on in newspapers? Some estimates say that at least 60% of available jobs are hidden, because publicly advertising jobs can be a lengthy and expensive process for employers. Instead of open job advertisements employers prefer to hire discreetly through recruiters or through professional and personal networks. 

When you ‘network’ you are establishing a relationship with another person – this could be a colleague, a classmate from school or college, someone at your gym, or even someone you meet in a shop. According to the popular theory of six degrees of separation, you are just six introductions away from any other unknown person in the world, and linked by a chain of acquaintances. So imagine the possibilities and the connections you are likely to build when you network. These in-person connections make you more connected to the world around you, and this increases your chances of finding a job, and sometimes, even succeeding at your job. Networking is a mutually beneficial relationship and helps you develop and improve your interpersonal skills, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.

Here are a few tips to make networking a little easier for you: 

Be friendly at work

Your workplace is the easiest place in which to network. Get to know people working in different functions across the organization you work for; let them know who you are and what skills you bring to the table. Most of us get overwhelmed with our workload, and we tend to stick with people in our own departments. If you happen to spend even a couple of minutes with someone in office who you do not know, strike up a conversation with her. Try to put yourself out there and make friends with people in the canteen. Make it a point to attend intra-office events, or volunteer for social causes. After-office happy hours can be a good way to get to know your colleagues, and let them get to know you. 

Network in your industry

Regularly networking in your industry will help you become visible, and getting noticed will make your job search easier. Attend professional industry events so that people get to know and trust you, Industry events are a great opportunity to exchange ideas, best practices, and stay abreast of the latest industry developments. Experts say this often “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” that matters if you want to get a good job and grow in your career. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to build your professional network. Most of your colleagues will be on LinkedIn, and through them you can build your own network in your industry. Be mindful when you are building your network, do not blindly accept every contact request; accept those that you have a professional connection with. Use LinkedIn to build your brand, post original content, and when you share articles that others have written, do add a line giving your perspective about the article. It is a good idea to follow industry leaders, from whom you can learn a lot. 

Network outside the industry box

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Get creative – use these out of the box ideas to stand out and give your job search a boost.

  • Practice your elevator pitch, and keep your resume short and handy, maybe even on your phone. If you meet someone who can and is happy to help you, you might have only a minute to make a good impression and you might have to send your profile soon after you meet, before the persons forgets who you are. It is most important to follow up any with any connections that you make. 
  • Become an expert in your field – online courses are available in easy-to-learn modules; make it a point to master one or two courses every year. This will add value to your resume. 
  • Build your brand - post original articles on LinkedIn or on online industry forums, speak on panels, and write articles for mainline and digital media. 
  • Volunteer to help with events, committees or projects. It helps you build relationships based on common interests. 
  • Stay active in alumni associations and tell your school and college friends that you are searching for a job. They will be happy to connect you with people in their networks. 

Putting yourself out there and meeting new people will help you step out of your comfort zone and helps you build invaluable social skills and self-confidence that you can take with you anywhere. The more you network, the more you’ll grow and learn how to make lasting connections. In this increasingly small and connected world, networking is bound to take you places and boost your career growth.