8 Out the Box Ways to Network for Your Next Job

By Thomas Greig

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Finding a new job is often a real challenge and gets no easier the older you get meaning that if you’re looking for a new job recruiters, job boards and the internet might all be great places to start looking, but will more than likely not find you the result that you’re looking for.  To find a job by applying to a job advert, your resume needs to be perfect and an exact fit with all the requirements that are needed, otherwise given the choice of candidates that companies have access to, its more than likely that one of the other “thousands of applicants” will have a perfect resume and be the chosen candidate.

I often talk about trying to stand out from the crowd whilst writing your resume and whilst this is still true, you also need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd whilst applying for jobs.  This means that rather than applying to job boards and join the other thousands of candidates, or send your resume to Google and be one of the twelve thousand that they receive each week, you’re going to do something different, you’re going to get a referee to become your sponsor or supporter.

This will really help you stand out from the crowd when applying for a job. Few other candidates, if any, will have a colleague at the company their applying to that will pass your resume on to the hiring manager and give them a quick speech about how good you are.

How are you going to do this? Simple, Networking. Network with anyone and everyone until you find someone that can help you find a new job. Below are eight ways to Network Yourself into a new job.

 

Meet, Talk and Discuss Your Career with a Niche Recruitment Consultant

Main stream recruiters have a bad image in the public’s view with a “send and hope” which basically involves meeting good candidates, sending them to random clients and seeing what happens. Every now and again a candidate is offered a job and if not, well repeat and the numbers will play out over time. Niche recruiters have one vital difference; they often only work in a very specific market where they have limited clients that they know well.

If a recruiters likes you, thinks you’re good at your job and thinks you could be a good fit for a specific company, often they can encourage their clients to meet you even if they do not like your resume. A good, well respected recruiter will be able to open doors for you that were previously closed.

Recruiters will often know of jobs that are not public knowledge. An example of this could be a situation where a smaller company wants to fire an employee, but needs a replacement to take over. Rather than advertise in-house, this company would give the job to a recruiter who would find all the candidates without any mention of the company. A new employee could be found, and a quick replacement would be made.

 

Use LinkedIn.com

LinkedIn has turned itself from a wannabe Facebook social networking program into one of the best business networking programs on the Internet. Want to find out who the CEO of a company is, go to LinkedIn and usually they will have an online profile outlining their work experience, current company and position.

Generally speaking there are 3 Key ways that we can use LinkedIn to network to find ourselves a new job. The first one gives us our referee, whilst the other two are great ways to networking using Linkedin.com. There are:

Search and Check for Shared Connections to Hiring Managers. This involves running a search of hiring managers in our field, checking what shared connections we have and asking those connections to introduce use to the hiring manager.
We can pay for a better profile which allows us to send in-mails. Once we are allowed to send in-mails we can send in-mails directly to hiring managers.
We can join groups and using a combination of the above and by inviting hiring managers to connect with us, network around LinkedIn

 

Use You Existing Network of Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Ex-Colleagues and Ex-Bosses

There is an old theory that believes that everyone is connected with each other by six steps or fewer called The Six Degrees of Separation. We can use this to our advantage to network around our group to find friends of friends who can put us in touch with a hiring manager that they know well and trusts their impression. As a recruiter, if I am passed a candidate by a client or friend and told that this candidate is good, I will meet them and the same applies to you. A good reference means usually a company will meet you.

To network around, you need to speak to and meet as many people as possible. It’s a great idea to start with the basics and progress from there. The basics involve speaking with Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Ex-Colleagues and especially Ex-Boss’s. This should give you a decent list of people to meet, speak with and find out if they know anyone who may be able to help you.

You can take this a step further by going to meet as many of your Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Ex-Colleagues and Ex-Boss’s network and asking them if they know anyone who is looking for someone with your back ground and knowledge. This is where real networking comes into play and some of the best networkers find their referees this way.

 

Go Back to School

For a professional person, going back to school is a real option.  In a part post I discussed my thoughts on going back to school to do an MBA. Realistically for me I feel that an MBA is not worth the expense unless you’re going to do it properly and go to a top 15 School.

MBA’s and other “going back to school” programs do offer one added advantage of allowing to have some of the best networking opportunities available to you. Firstly companies are more likely to visit a college or University that caters for more mature students knowing that all the candidates have paid to take their program, and depending on the college that is visited will give the employer a good idea of how clever the students are. If an employer visits Harvard, you can be sure that every student that you speak with will be suitable for your company.

Colleges and Universities have a second big advantage of providing you with a huge number of contacts, some of which will already have a job to go back to, others will be able to help you with contacts and then there is a college’s Alumni where there will be thousands of contacts. They will only be too happy to help you out because they know that they were in the same position a few years ago.

As a separate idea, taking a very specific course that relates to your specific working field can often help you with contacts either from other students, or your professors and teachers.

 

Business Networking Groups or Organizations

Joining a business networking club or organization will give you plenty of access to senior professionals and hiring managers.  The internet is probably the best place to find business networking groups and clubs in your location but some of the best include, BNI which just last year passed 7.1 million referrals between members, LeTip or The Rotary Club. Here is a great post for the 20 Best Social Networking Groups.

The idea with a business club is to join (often you will have to pay a yearly fee) and then go to their business networking events and start talking to as many people as you can find. Often you will find with most of the good business clubs, top CEO’s, hiring managers and professionals will attend to discuss business ideas for the future. Yes there will be a lot of hangers-on (people who are really not important but think they are), but after going to a few networking events you will be able to spot these types and either avoid them or quickly move on whilst being polite.

 

Join a Social Club or Sports Club

Social clubs have one great advantage of being able to catch senior professionals when they are not expecting it. If you go to a networking event or meet someone in person, both parties know where each are and usually both parties are trying to get something out of the conversation. People at a social or sports club will not expect your approaches and therefore will be much more relaxed and usually open.

If your careful this allows you to extract far more information than you would normally get, but it does have one slight disadvantage in that people use social and sports clubs to relax and therefore the last thing they’re going to want to talk about is work.

Usually the more prestigious social and sporting clubs are the best hunting ground which means you need to be involved in sports such as golf, tennis, skiing and yachting to find the best networking opportunities. The best tactic at clubs is to really become friends with people before you start asking for help. Often when you meet senior professionals at a club the last thing they want to talk about is work, however if your their friend, they will happily take your call during working hours and happily help you out if they can.

Imagine getting the CEO to hand your resume to the HR department with a few comments about you. I bet you will get a call!

 

Career Coach or Mentor

Career coaches and mentors are used by candidates to help direct their careers in the right direction. How often have you had friends say, I wish I did that, or I wish I took that qualification – Career coaches are there to help you make the right decision based on where you’re in your career and where you want to be in the short, medium and long term.

Career coaches usually are seasoned business professionals who have had a good career themselves. They will often have a great network of senior professionals that they know and maybe have worked with in the past. A good career coach can be worth their weight in gold for networking.

 

Use Your Customers

Impressing your customers with your work, knowledge, and personality is a really great way to get a new job. Getting a new job with your customers is very common with consultants where you work with a client on a project for a set period of time and then move on to another company where you complete another project.

Working within a company gives you time to impress with your skills and knowledge and show off your personality. If you can show that you can work well within the team then a hiring manager is more likely to hire you knowing your work and that you will fit into their team and company culture. It’s important that you do as much networking as possible within the company that you are seconded to. If you can get to know people on a personal basis as well as in a business environment then you will have a much better chance of succeeding.

If you don’t work as a consultant then you can still network within a company to find a new job by getting a temporary job. This will allow you to work within a company, team and with the hiring manager for a period of time. Again it’s important to meet as many people as possible who can help you find your next job.

 

Remember

Networking is key to finding a good job as a hiring manager is much more likely to take a risk on you if you have the backing of a good reference from someone they know and trust. Networking is easy when you think about it and as long as you take every opportunity to network wherever you are then you will have success.

One key thing to remember about networking, often the best contacts that you make are those with relationships that are formed over time. Don’t expect to go to a networking event, meet ten people who all give you the contact details you need to be able to speak to the people that evening.

 

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