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Why Getting a Job is More About Who You Know.

Quotes about lifeIt is real, it works, and it is quite fast.

Networking – the big word for building relationships in a corporate world. Thumbs up to the originator.

But many jobseekers have built  mental walls to this word because, to the best of their knowledge,  it is more difficult than how we paint it in articles and motivational speeches.

From the experts and advanced career professionals, advice to jobseekers is that networking is the best way to get a job because; as the old saying goes – it’s not about who you know, but about who knows you.

You are not wrong if you still think it is actually tougher – and more confusing – than rocket science and learning a new language combined.

But what exactly is networking and why do people think it is a good idea?

Networking is rightly everything this article on career networking for jobseekers points out.

Networking is personal; it is social, it is emotional, it is professional; whether you see it as an opportunity to scream your needs in people’s ears or as a tool to keep yourself in the loop on your immediate world; it is totally dependent on what you make of it.

To be clear, networking is not a professional exercise for the extroverted, outgoing, pushy types only; if that were true, introverts won’t have jobs or fall in love; because networking is about making friends and finding common grounds; it is about lending a hand and seeking help – most which can be done with few words than is needed.

Thankfully, we have technology to the rescue for people who lack the courage to walk up to strangers they’d like to have in their network of friends or mentors; from the jobseeker to the hiring manager, the successful entrepreneur to the bootstrapper – even though the downsides have more significant impacts, technology has blurred the thick lines of communication and access to information across platforms. Add Google to the list, that thing is a life-saver.

Networking no doubt, is a powerful job-search tool.  That said, how do you tap into the hidden market with people?

 

Change your mindset.

Networking is a lot more than asking for help. You see, professionals and career experts, the very ones you admire and look forward to working with, are not so into needy people.

You need their attention? Identify a problem you can solve for them, entertain them, provide them with relevant information and they’d return the favour. Don’t ask for a job right after you get a follow back from a top brand executive on Twitter, or after shaking a CEO’s hands in a networking event.   Keep your needs to yourself first; remember the world revolves around problems and solutions; value and perception. Dive in from any of these angles.

 

Change your approach.

You are not networking if you only ask for help ONLINE and then don’t follow-up. Yes, technology has made life easier but it is not a substitute for real in-person meetings. Find a balance between stalking someone online and asking for an informal interview or mentoring. There are so many benefits of  having a mentor, some you can learn from this HBR Ideacast with JEANNE MEISTER.

Networking is simply like online dating and it’s quite amazing that introverts are more confident behind computers and mobile phones than in person, so it leaves you with no excuse.

– You find a company you want to work in – check out for an insider who’s already in your network of friends or someone you know that knows the person you want to work with, and then spin that web in your favour. Get the person to put in a word for you and take it up from there. Don’t wait for a second pitch, do a follow-up message and build the relationship slowly. If it’s meant to be, it is up to you.

– If you have no connections with the company,  use the internet to your advantage. Look for the head of your prospective unit online –  check if he has a blog, website, Twitter or Facebook account and demonstrate your “internet skills” .  Look him up, follow her and start participating in the discussions he follows. Look out for and suggest topics you think she’ll find interesting. Think of this as a date. A blind date. Put in all that it takes to get noticed for the right reasons.

 

Be Available.

When your would-be-employers or mentors eventually create time to meet your need, it’ll be disappointing to find you nowhere or to go through stress to get to you; you may as well call that a lost opportunity, one your relationship might not recover from.

A lot of the time, people fail to realise that networking is pretty much like dating.  You see a prospect, you find out what he likes and pitch yourself as the lady worth the prize.  And when she finally decides to meet you;  you get busy and list out a plethora of excuses.  Would you imagine the possibility of a second outing with the person? But even if you get a second chance, in the corporate world, first impressions are usually the only impressions.

Value in-person meetings; the internet is your friend, and your enemy too. Starting a conversation or a relationship online is not a bad move, especially in our sound-byte world. But an in-person, face-to-face, shake-of-hands, share-a-few-laughs meeting strengthens that bond faster.  Let all your online networking lead to an eventual offline interaction.

You want a job?  Tired of having your resume fly from hand to trash all the time? Then engage your network. Start with people you know, reach out to people you want to work with; being an introvert doesn’t stop you from displaying your skills.

Observe common networking etiquette like;

Sending personalised in-mails on social networks where your prospects are.

Avoid schmoozing your prospects to get them to like you. Seriously, that’s very wrong.

 

Most importantly, you are in a better position when you combine your networking efforts with impressive qualifications, else you’ll be making so much noise and still not get heard.

How has your network helped you? Share in the comments section below.

WRITTEN BY
Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell