Why Networking Matters, by Karen Munro

Karen Munro, a Careers Coach and Trainer, shares her insights on networking.

I see clients all the time who say they feel so despondent when they are searching for work and how “there’s just nothing out there!” They tell me about how they are spending hours every day combing all the key internet jobsites. Many of them will upload their CV onto jobsites such as Indeed, CV Library and Monster, as well as sending them to recruitment agencies thinking if they flood the market with their CV then they’re bound to get a hit – surely it’s just a numbers game? But then they just don’t get anything back, day after day, week after week. It’s soul destroying isn’t it? In fact, I can guarantee if there is one way to get yourself really demotivated – that’s the way to do it.

Here’s why: at least 80% of all jobs are NOT even advertised!  Yes, that’s right, I haven’t just made a terrible typo – there really is a ‘hidden job market’ and you need to tap in to it now. This is a staggering amount of jobs and they are all out there for the taking, you just need to find out where they are and how to tap in to them. The ‘hidden job market’ is every job that’s filled through that cliché of knowing someone, who knows someone or the job someone heard about through a friend of a friend or through a recommendation.

So, if you are just looking for your dream job using mainly on line websites, checking the Classifieds at the back of your local paper or registering with your local recruitment agency and hoping they’ll do all the hard work for you, then you are probably throwing all your efforts in to approximately 15-20% of the real job market. Not the best odds, I am sure you would agree.

Few companies can afford to spend thousands of pounds recruiting jobs through costly advertising whether it’s online, in newspapers or through recruitment agencies. It’s not only costly, but it takes up an awful lot of time, especially when they get flooded with hundreds of irrelevant CVs and have to spend days trawling through them in order to put together a reasonable shortlist of candidates to interview. It’s so much easier for them to use their own company website, to promote from within or use their own contacts to find suitable candidates who genuinely want to work for them. After all, there are so many candidates out there so they don’t need to work hard to find them.

Many professionals now actively use business contacts, online forums and business networking sites first to fill a vacancy. So what do you have to do? Network like mad! Networking sounds like some kind of ‘management business jargon’ that belongs on The Apprentice rather than within our daily lives, but actually it’s easy, fun and really works! In fact we network about all sorts of things throughout our daily lives without giving it much thought. It’s about building up a list of personal and professional contacts, informing them you are looking for work and asking them to help point you in the right direction of anyone they may know who could help, or might be hiring.

Many of us will be familiar with Facebook and Twitter. Whether we like them or use them or not, billions of people use them every day to keep in contact with each other and the rest of the world. What better way to find out about what’s going on in the world of work by keeping in touch with all your contacts, and getting to find out about people who are leaving or getting promoted or perhaps going on a career break or maternity leave. The best business forum that works just like Facebook, and helps people network with thousands of like minded people just like you, is LinkedIn. It’s a great online business networking site and free – try it!

Also try joining community groups and forums, subscribe to magazines that are connected to the type of work you like or want to do. Hook up with family, friends and colleagues, keep up to date with what’s happening in the industry, go to careers and employment fairs, and get to know people who work in the organisations where you want to work. Send them a covering letter and a good CV and ask them if you could come in to meet them to discuss any possible job opportunities. Read the local newspapers, but not just the classifieds, read about what’s happening in your area, housing projects, new companies, business trends. Consider joining voluntary and community projects – get involved, start talking, start meeting people and start networking!

About Karen Munro

Karen Munro is a qualified Careers Coach, Trainer who runs Munro Careers. She works as an Associate Career Consultant for some of best career management organisations in the UK including the Career Transition Partnership where she facilitates career transitioning workshops and provides one to one support to Military Personnel transitioning out of the UK’s Armed Forces.

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