This approach involves contacting the people you know to put you in touch with potential employers and to introduce you to additional contacts who might be able to provide similar help.
The starting point in networking is to develop a comprehensive list of your contacts including friends, former employers, clients and vendors at previous employers, business associates, family members, former teachers, neighbors, members of professional associations you belong to, and people from your religious groups and community groups. Your network should consist of these people as well as of the people they know. Your goal should be to select contacts with some knowledge about the type of work you desire, and those who are likely to know others who could help you in your job search.
Your contacts have to believe that you are a good candidate with the skills, knowledge and experience required for the type of job in which you are interested. Unless your contacts like you and believe in your credentials, they will be reluctant to refer you to others for possible opportunities. The quality of approach you make to your contacts is very important. You have to come across as someone highly accomplished, and at the same time, you do not want to appear pushy at any time. You should prepare an outline of what you want to say before you make a phone call. The essential question you need to ask your contacts is this: Do you know of any job openings suitable for me at your place of work or somewhere else? If the answer is no, you should ask a follow-up question: Do you know someone who could help me in my job search? If you can do that successfully, you will get good leads for job openings, and also gain additional contacts who could lead you to the job you desire.
Many people feel shy about making use of their contacts to do job hunting, and therefore, networking is not used as widely as it should be. This is a highly effective way of finding unadvertised positions, particularly for senior level positions. You should dedicate a substantial part of your job search effort to networking. You simply have to start telling the people you know that you are looking for a job, and the type of job you are looking for. These people might be able to introduce you to other people, who may be able to help you find a job. When you have created your target list of companies, let your network know about it, and ask them if they know any contacts in those companies or they could refer you to others for possible contacts in those companies.
Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a job, and you are very well positioned whenever you are being referred by an employee within the company.
Most people you contact will not be able to help you immediately. But some will know of job openings in your field, or know of someone who works in your field who could help you. Networking means contacting people you know, and also reaching out to people you do not know. This involves cultivating relationships, and making those relationships useful for the persons in your network. Develop a habit of building your contact information, and use your network to develop additional contacts. The earlier you do that in life, the larger your network file will spread. The information you collect about your network contacts should include the name, phone number, employer’s name, position, educational background, special interests and any other information that will be helpful in cultivating relationships.
The Internet has opened up new possibilities for networking. Social networks have become an important resource for job-hunters. LinkedIn is a popular social network with a relationship-powered job network that connects job applicants with the hiring managers, or recruiters representing the jobs listed on LinkedIn. In addition to finding job listings on LinkedIn, candidates get background information on the job posters that can help them to prepare targeted cover letters. LinkedIn also helps candidates to identify which of their existing contacts can refer them to the hiring manager or to someone who knows the hiring manager. Additional information is available on the website www.linkedin.com. Also remember that expanding your network need not be limited to in-person events. Authoring a highly regarded blog can be a great way to build your personal brand, expand your network of business contacts, and demonstrate your knowledge and skills to employers.