Networking is most likely the best way to find your new job. When you are unemployed, your networking skills will need to come into play whether you are avid or new networker. Mark S. Granovetter, a Harvard sociologist, reported to Forbes magazine that "informal contacts" account for almost 75 percent of all successful job searches. Agencies find nine percent of new jobs for professional and technical people, and advertisements yield another 10 percent or so. Networking for some people isn’t a comfortable thing to do. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes that people make when networking for a new position.
5 Biggest Mistakes people make Networking:
- Being shy and too embarrassed to communicate that you are looking for a position. This is NOT the time to be shy! You need to be telling everyone you know you need employment! Almost everyone you encounter knows what it is like to be out of work or looking for a job. They will sympathize with you and they will genuinely try to help you.
- Not being specific about what they are looking for. You had me at hello and then you lost me! You have to be specific on the type of job you are looking for; no one can read your mind. The more specific you are, the better your network can help you. Example: I want a job as a Project Manager or, I want to be a Project Manager for a hospital, I was recently PMP certified and have 7 years’ experience in hospital project management. Thinking that you might have better luck being “open” to anything makes it hard for someone to target an appropriate position for you.
- I don’t know that many people? You do! Your network is much LARGER than you think. Make a list of your top people you know and then ask each one if they might know someone you could connect with. Everywhere you go, when you go to the grocery store, the hairdresser, your dry cleaners, your doctors, the next neighborhood party all could turn out to be networking opportunities. Each network can connect you to another network.
- Telling your Long Sad Story of Unemployment. Everyone has a story, if someone agrees to meet with you, now is not the time to tell them how you got fired or laid off and how unfair it was. Be positive, even with your closest of connections. When networking, spend someone else’s time with you carefully. This is not the time to tell your sad story; this is the time to share with them what it is you need and how you can be of value to any organization. You want people to trust that you are a professional positive person that is hirable not a tainted disgruntled unemployed person.
- You don’t listen! You are not attentive to your contact. This is a skill to listen more than you speak when you are networking. Focus on the speaker and avoid interrupting them until they are finished. Make sure you look interested even if they are rambling on. This contact could get you to your next contact or your next position, let them speak and have the courtesy to listen.
Devoting time to network for your next job is a wise investment of your time. Networking, done correctly can get you your next position much quicker than you ever expected. Avoiding these simple mistakes will make your time and your networks time much more valuable. Let us know if you have any networking mistakes you have encountered?