Ever wonder why most jobs are filled without the use of classified ads? Because the unpublished job market is filtered through referrals from trusted contacts, not ads. The bottom line is, people do business with and hire people they know or who come highly recommended. There are many factors to consider when attempting to enhance your networking effectiveness, so we have compiled some important tips to help you succeed.

1. HELP WANTED ADS VS. NETWORKING
The advertised job market is frustrating, slow and troublesome for both employer and applicant. For the applicant, it means major competition; particularly for entry-level positions. For the more experienced or specialized worker, the advertised job market may barely exist. The employer's network is faster, cheaper and more effective than advertising, so networking now may help jumpstart your employment future.

2. FISH IN THE RIGHT POND
Fact: 80% of all positions are filled without ever being advertised. These positions are filled by and/or created for candidates who come to an employer's attention through employee recommendations, referrals from trusted associates, recruiters, and/or direct contact with the candidate. Consequently, if 80% of the fish are in the networking pond, you should be fishing there, while simultaneously developing your networking strengths.

3. BE THE BUYER
It's human nature; we tend to gravitate towards people, products and services that come highly recommended. This applies to everyone, especially employers. Continually put yourself in the shoes of the person making the decisions, i.e., the buyer/employer. You will be more successful if you look at the hiring process from the other side of the desk.

4. PRE-RECOMMENDATION
Successful hidden job market candidates are often able to connect with the employer's network through "pre-recommendation" by someone the employer trusts. Using your contacts to connect with the employer's contacts is the key to the hidden/unadvertised jobs. Networking develops relationships with people, and employers are people you need to establish credibility with.

5. EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE
If you are seeking employment, challenge yourself to attend networking events and become more social. What do you have to lose? Get to know new people in your industry. You never know who may be your next employer or referral. Strong self-presentation and communication skills often play a key role in influencing employers hiring decisions. Make a commitment to establish at least one new contact a day, and consistently follow-up with them.

6. TALK TO STRANGERS
When attending a networking meeting, dinner, or presentation don't waste time chatting with your close friends or co-workers. You can talk to them anytime, but you may not have another chance to make a key introduction to a potential employer. If you have an opportunity to circulate and network, take advantage of it!

7. LOCATE THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET
At hundreds of companies across America, jobs become available when people retire, leave for better jobs, relocate with their spouses, transfer, or fall ill. These vacancies may go unadvertised for a period of time because hiring managers prefer to fill them without launching a full-scale search. The best jobs are available at this stage and there is less competition. How do you land them? Good timing, research, persistence, and expanding your network.

8. BECOME "TOP OF MIND"
Accept the fact that people who network and are "known" in their industry get the jobs, but they aren't necessarily the most educated, talented, or qualified. Again, employers prefer to deal with something familiar or referred, rather than take a chance on the unknown. Get your name out there to generate awareness.

9. DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF
There are 100's or 1000's of people just like you offering similar talents to employers. Your challenge is to make employers remember you when the need arises. Don't be afraid to market yourself a little differently. This could be as simple as a unique business card or a dynamic personal website. Work at becoming a known entity rather than a piece of paper.

10. SEEK ADVICE, NOT A JOB
Successful individuals and employers in your industry are a great source for advice and referrals. It makes them feel important and special, and expands your network in the process. But key executives are short on time, so try to learn as much as possible about the person you are conversing with by asking questions, obtaining their business card, and taking notes. Don't be overly assertive and apply job pressures; your network contact may withdraw because no one wants to be put on the spot or give negative news. If there is a job fit, let them broach the subject, not you.

11. PREPARE A 30-SECOND INTRODUCTION
People love to talk about themselves, so help them by posing good questions. The more you know about your contact, the more strategic and engaging your answers can be when it's your turn to share. Never volunteer your experiences and achievements until asked. When you are asked about your background/experience, your response should be concise; no longer than 30-seconds. Don't elaborate on the details at a networking meeting unless necessary.

12. VOLUNTEER
There is no better way to network than volunteering for a position of leadership in an organization or society. An organization's leaders have a distinct networking advantage, as they are active and visible to others. They get more exposure, meet more people from other organizations, and often get additional exposure by having their name in "print" distributions via newsletters, web site listings, and other marketing vehicles.

13. DON'T GET COMPLACENT
If you have a permanent job, don't get too comfortable. Job security is at an all time low, so you still need to be networking. Individuals have minimal control of corporate downsizing, rightsizing, mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers, but they do have total control of their network and relationship building tactics.

14. DEVELOP A CONSCISE RESUME
No one gets a job from a resume alone, especially not a lengthy, long-winded one. Employers only have about 5 seconds to preview resumes; so if they are not concise, they won't get read. People who network know that jobs come after a face to face interview, and thus limit their resumes to a one-page summary of their talents. Details and dates, if necessary, are to be discussed at the job interview.

15. THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND
You see them everywhere; web addresses on TV, business cards, letterhead, newspapers, magazines and company brochures. Having a URL and at the very least an e-mail account gives you a distinct advantage over the competition. The web is a powerful and cost effective communication tool; so if you are not connected, get connected.

16. BUSINESS CARDS
Don't leave home without business cards. Your card can be your silent salesman, reminding people of you at a later time. Your business card is an excellent place to list your phone number, fax number, pager number, e-mail address, and personal web site address. You want to make it convenient for people to reach you; and business cards are the most simple, cost-effective sales tool you can have.

 


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