Networking: It’s Not What You Know…
80% of the jobs available in the U.S. are unadvertised. So how do you find out about this hidden market? You have to ask and having an updated LinkedIn profile doesn’t hurt either.
You might think you don’t know anyone who can help. Maybe that’s true, but someone you know might know someone who can. Maybe you’ll have to expand your scope beyond your immediate circle of friends and family, but the link to the job you’re looking for is there, somewhere.
If you’re using LinkedIn.com, there are a variety of ways to make contacts and network. Joining an alumni group or other organization you belong to can increase your contacts. Also, something as easy as importing your email contacts can increase your networking potential.
Every time you have a conversation with someone in your network, tell him or her you’re looking for a job in a particular field and ask if they know anyone who might be able to help. When you receive a referral, note the name and follow up–by phone or e-mail. Introduce yourself, mention who referred you, and provide a brief background about your experience. Then conclude with the same question: Do they know anyone who might be able to help?
You may end up with several informational interviews, or maybe you’ll score an actual job offer. Either way, the more contacts you make, the closer you are to being employed.