Prescription: Networking. The “Hidden” Job Market.

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HiddenOpportunities“Someone you know; knows someone; looking for someone, just like you.”Denise Anne Taylor, Founder of CAREERMEDIC

In order to GET FOUND and GET HIRED it is important to extend your current circle of influence.  This will mean attending a business social, meet-ups, and events so you can leverage your connections and expand your ability for increased opportunities.

Think of it as information gathering, rather than networking.  Always keep in mind:  Effective networking, during your job search IS NOT asking others for jobs or asking them to distribute your resume. Effective networking during your job search IS simply asking others for information, advice and referrals.

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The Pitch.  Do you have a 30-second “commercial”?  This would include few sentences that briefly communicate who you are and your current situation along with an “ASK”.   Practice aloud, look into a mirror or record yourself and play it back ; be sure it sounds natural and confident.  Also, create some go-to replies to questions such as; “What do you do for a living?” and “Why did you come here today?” this will help you feel more self-confident in a variety of networking settings. 

Create “back-pocket questions”.  Consider your career pathway and construct three questions that you might ask, such as:   “I’m exploring new career opportunities and would to love learn more about your company.”, “Given my background, what action steps would you take if you were me?”,  “Who would you try to talk to for advice and more information?”

Volunteer.  While working alongside others within your community through a service or professional organization, become intentional about sharing your 30-second Pitch and utilizing your “back-pocket questions”.

Be someone’s hero.  Arrive early to career fairs and business gatherings which can lead to new connections; find someone who is standing alone and may be waiting for others to arrive.  “Rescue” one of those individuals.  Introduce yourself and ask some pre-planned conversation starters such as:  “How long have you been a member?”, “What keeps you coming back?” or “Tell me a little bit more about yourself?”  The rescued individual will likely turn the same questions back to you.  Be prepared with your 30-second commercial and then brainstorm action steps to achieve your career goals.

Research and send information to help others. Networking is a two-way street.  When you hear or read about challenges someone is facing, offer tips and resources to help them.  For instance, if you learn that a hiring manager is having trouble with finding a good local coffee shop , do a five-minute Google search for “Top Coffee Shops in…” and share what you find.  People you help will want to help you.

Use social networking sites.  Claim your name and profile at LinkedIn, The World’s Largest Professional Network.  Remember: The same “Do’s and Don’ts” of face-to-face networking still apply, so make sure you know how to avoid common networking mistakes and pet peeves when inviting professionals to connect.   State your intent when inviting individuals to connect, avoid using the preset language offered by the site, and be specific in your request.  Need help?  Sign-up for a LinkedIn Makeover to learn more about how to use the network to its fullest potential. 

Set specific, measurable networking goals.  “Make success a habit.”-BestSelf.co   Each Friday create a calendar/journal and list of goals for the following week. Your goal might be something like, “At 9am on Monday, I will create referral possibilities by reaching out to 3 connections to determine any “hidden” opportunities and schedule at least 2 networking meetings or events for the following week.”  Or set aside specific times on your calendar dedicated solely to your job search; “Monday-Thursday from 8:30am-Noon is dedicated to looking for a job, networking and connecting.”

Visualize yourself succeeding.  Use an online visualization board like VizBe.co to create a board of images that you can use to maintain a positive attitude and motivation during your search. Research upcoming area networking events and visualize working the room and engaging successfully with new connections. 

Follow a few of these simple actionable items to uncover “HIDDEN” opportunities and expedite your ability to GET FOUND and GET HIRED. Good Luck!

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