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How to network effectively

Networking, careers, hidden job market

Networking is the most effective means of accessing the hidden job market. Up to 70% of today’s jobs are gained through networking and using your own contacts.

Networking is about building relationships, sharing information and finding sources of support. It is an ongoing life skill, not just something you do when you want something. Maintaining your network should be something you make time for every week, not just when you are looking for the next role.

Your best advocates are people who know you, those with whom you have worked previously and those who can refer you on to new contacts.

The most successful people share information.

 Exchanging information allows new insights you may not have thought of. Expanding your contacts can open doors to new opportunities. Engaging with your contacts allows you to sow the seeds for reciprocal assistance when you need help. And the more people you know, the more people you can influence. Always remember your connections will also have connections, giving you an even wider network. You never know who people might know – this is very important!

The best networkers approach all meetings thinking about how they can help the other party. 

To network well, start with the principle of ‘what goes around comes around’. Ask people, “How can I help you?” and “What can I do for you?”. Offer to help out others when you can. People remember this and will return the favour. Doing this also lifts your self-esteem and puts you into a more positive mind set. Always be positive and grateful, thank people for their help and aim to help them in return in some way.

Start with people you trust and respect; those that have similar values to you.

This may be current work colleagues, ex-work colleagues, friends, University friends, family friends, contacts through sports clubs, contacts through your children’s schools and so on. Ensure you also include 1 – 2 recruiters in your network. Choose recruiters who you trust, who are empathetic and who are honest with you.

If you are considering a new role, the most important task is to define what you are looking for in your next role.

It is very important to do this before you start approaching people for advice. If your contacts know what you want, it is much easier for them to assist you. Consider the type of company or culture, the job title and responsibilities, whether you want to work in a large or small organisation and the location. Always let your network know that you are looking for a job. Spread your “feelers” as far as possible and thank people for their help. Ask friends or contacts to refer you into their current employer or for a contact you can approach directly. Be aware that many companies have a monetary referral bonus they pay to internal staff. If you are unemployed then treat networking as a full time job. If you are unemployed you should aim to dedicate an hour every few days to building your network.

Key Points to Remember:

  • 70% of jobs are never advertised and are gained through networking
  • Successful people share information
  • Ask your current contacts for referrals
  • Offer to help people. What you give out will come back
  • A good network is about quality of contacts not quantity
  • Build strong relationships with 1 – 2 recruiters who have an empathy with you. They should be central to your network

For further information on networking you can contact your Moir Group consultant on 02 9262 4836. Alternatively, if you would like to arrange a one-to-one coaching session then you can contact our Learning and Development Manager, Ola Dabbagh-Roberts, on 02 9262 4836.

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