Keeping Your Eye On The Prize: How To Network Your Way To A Better Job

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
Steve Jobs

Ask ten people how they got the job they have and I bet they will tell you it was through someone they know! Networking is by far one of the best ways to further your career and get a better job. It reveals more opportunities and more possibilities, and in some cases, allows you to invent your own perfect position description.
 
By using networking as a tool to secure a new position, you’ve got a much better chance of getting what you want. This is because:
 

  • Most jobs come from the hidden job market – up to 80% actually!
  • Employers like to hire someone they already know and trust, or who has been recommended by another person they trust.
  • Employers prefer to avoid having to advertise. This takes time and resources, and they end up with a pile of applicants they have to sift through. If they can hire via networking it saves them a great deal of time, money and effort.
  • Without a formal advertising process, you’ll be up against significantly less competition for the position.

So, what are the best ways to approach networking when your goal is a better job? 

1. Make networking a habit – Keep up your conversations and connections as you need to have strong relationships before seeking anything.

2. Assess your current network. You’ll be amazed at how many people you already know in your network. Reach out to them and explain exactly what you’re looking for. Ask them if they have any information about upcoming opportunities or if they know of someone else you can contact. You never know where this simple act may lead. 

3. Ask for help, not a job. When you ask someone straight up for a job it can be confronting and can make them feel like they’re being ambushed. Instead, ask for some advice. Ask them for a good starting place, or how you can get a foot in the door somewhere. With a gentle approach they will be more forthcoming with help. 

4. Be specific. Know exactly what you’re looking for. When you ask specific questions, you’ll find specific answers, in the same way that vague questions will result in a vague answer. Do you want a referral? To be introduced to someone? Some work experience? A friendly chat with an insider? Know what you want and ask for it. 

5. Follow up. This links to step 1, so be sure to maintain contact with your connections and follow up. If nothing eventuates from your efforts this time, try again in 3 months time when circumstances might have changed. 

Networking and building relationships is the fastest and easiest way to further your career and reach your goals. Learn this and other networking skills from an industry expert and enroll in our Business Networking Workshop today.
 
Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au