Friday, September 28, 2007

Networking Myths Versus Reality

Despite the demonstrated success of networking as a primary job search strategy, some people have a very hard time doing it. They recognize its value for other people but do not think that they have the personal characteristics to make it work. If you count yourself among the 'networking nervous,' you probably also think of yourself as a person who is shy, at least around people you do not know well. but you may also be under the influence of one or more false myths about networking.

Myth - Networking is only for extroverted backslappers.

Fact - People who are naturally outgoing may feel more comfortable with networking than their more reserved counterparts, but this does not necessarily mean that they are better at it. Introverts usually have valuable gifts that they can capitalize on -- the capacity to listen attentively, ask thoughtful questions and execute thorough follow-up. And networking gets easier once you take the plunge. Like other mentally and emotionally challenging tasks, it resembles the lift off of a rocket, It takes the most energy at the beginning -- making your first couple of telephone calls and setting out on your first meeting or two. As you gather momentum, it gets easier. Before every contact remind yourself that networking is the standard way of doing business and finding employment in the United States.

Myth - Only the desperate and minimally qualified have to network. People who are good have jobs or they can get them the "regular way" through online job boards and newspaper ads.

Fact - Nealy everybody has to look for employment at one time or another in their lives Many, through no fault of their own, go through the process several times. These veterans know that many of the best positions are not advertised and that highly qualified candidates put more of their energy into networking than scanning help wanted pages. Networking is the "regular way" of getting a job.

Myth - It is humiliating to go around begging people for a job.

Fact - It certainly is. But remember, the purpose of networking is not to beg. In fact, it is not even to ask for a job. You do not go to a networking meeting expecting to get a job. You go expecting to learn about a person, his or her company and the state of the profession in your new area.

Myth - Networkers impose on the people they contact.

Fact - The vast majority of people enjoy talking about their company and their work and are glad to lend a hand to a newcomer. Many people you speak with will have obtained their current positions through networking. At the same time, you will give them an opportunity to add to their network; there may be a time when you will be able to help them.

Myth - Networking is only for executives.

Fact - Networking works equally well for all occupations and both genders.

Myth - Networking is too time consuming.

Fact - Networking does take time and effort, but whether it takes too much time depends on how badly you want a job commensurate with your abilities. The more committed you are to your job search, the more committed people will be to helping you with it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Number One Networking Tip

Networking, and job hunting itself are emotionally taxing, physically draining and occasionally discouraging. Therefore, do not try to go it alone. Talk to other people with whom you can share your victories and setbacks -- people who can sympathize, but can also keep you on track the days when you want to quit.

Networking can also be enjoyable and rewarding, especially when you keep it foremost in your mind that YOU have something to offer every person you speak with.

If you do not feel that you have something to offer the marketplace and the people you talk to, or if you are unclear on what it is that you have to offer, then you may need to do a little more work on self-assessment.

Throughout the networking process, your focus and emphasis should be not on your need for employment but on your competencies and on what you have to bring to an organization, company or employer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fundamentals of Job Searching

The fundamentals of job hunting have not changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Job seekers still need a resume to summarize their experience, skills and abilities. Employers still expect a cover letter to accompany and introduce the resume. As in 1950, many job seekers identify desirable positions through personal contacts and networking. And, just as it was two generations ago, few of us obtain positions without interviewing with our prospective employer at least once.

Why then, we may wonder, do the tasks of selecting a career and finding employment seem so challenging -- even, at times, daunting? One reason for this, surely, is that the society in which we now look for careers and jobs feels more competitive, complicated and confusing than in the past. And it feels this way because it is this way. The reason for this has to do with the accelerated pace of change. The phenomenon of change, always a feature of human life, has itself changed. Is is occurring at a faster rate than ever before in human history. Moreover, despite our love of future-telling, rapid change makes the art of prediction hazardous for those who crave certainty about what is to come.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Networking For Hidden Jobs

A good way to get an idea of how the hidden job market works is to think of a job opening as a four stage event. At the beginning, stage one, there is no opening. Both the quantity and variety of work can be adequately performed by existing personnel. Then, at the beginning of stage two, the balance shifts because of an increase in either the volume of work that needs to be done or the diversity of experience and skills required to do it. The equilibrium can also be disturbed by the transfer or departure of existing workers. Whatever the cause, employees closest to the situation determine that additional personnel are needed. In stage three, this need is identified and acknowledged by other people in the organization, including those with the authority to declare a job opening and fill it. During this stage, informal inquiries are made about potential known candidates. Finally, if and when stage four is reached, the job opening is publicly announced in the classified section or posted on-line.

Now, lets come back to the point that 50% to 80% of openings are filled throughout the hidden job market. Most of these are claimed by networkers while the openings are in their second stage. Even when openings survive to stage four, they are frequently taken quickly by people who have preexisting contacts with the decision-makers, the ultimate objective of networking is to identify and be available for openings in stages two and three. In some cases, talented networkers can even create or stimulate an opening when there is no perceived need for one.

In short, networking positions you to know the right person in the right place at the right time.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Hidden Job Market

One way of finding job openings is to read the help wanted ads or research on-line job banks; jobs can be found by responding to these openings. But, these job listings represent only a limited selection of the jobs available. Many desirable positions are not advertised and their existence is never known to the general public. These opportunities make up what is generally known as The Hidden Job Market. But, if such jobs are not publicized, how does anyone find out about them? Usually through networking. Even jobs that are advertised are often filled through networkers before or while the ad appears. As you identify potential jobs, before they are advertised, and are alerted to positions that will not be publicly available at all, you tap into The Hidden Job Market. Depending on the kind of work that you do, between 50% and 80% of the positions that interest you will be filled at the "hidden" level. These successful applicants, appear to be "insiders", "people in the know", who have "special" access. You may be wondering how these jobs are snatched up by people who are no better qualified than you. The answer is -- connections. People get these jobs by networking or being part of an already existing network.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Networking For A Job Search

Many people new to job searching are understandably intimidated by the prospect of networking. This is partly due to the common misconceptions that networkers ask people they do not know for jobs. This is not the case. Networking is a universally recognized means of exchanging information with other people and establishing professional contacts. For job searchers, networking is the best method for identifying possible sources of employment. You begin networking by speaking with people you already know. These people will often know and refer you to others who share your vocational interests. Before you know it, you are speaking with fifth and fourth generations of contacts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Professional Cover Letters Are Necessary

Many job seekers confess that they stress out over cover letters more than they do for their resumes. On the face of it, this may seem puzzling. After all, what can be so challenging about a one-page "preface" to a clearly outlined document? Well, the truth is, the resume may never be looked at if it is introduced by a dull letter, this preface is more than a formality it is a necessity. It introduces you to your readers and sets the mental framework with which they interpret the resume. Your resume can be amazing, but if the cover letter is not of professional quality, the resume may not get the full attention it deserves. Every job seeker would definitely be better off having a professional resume and cover letter writing service do the job for them.