Posted By Amanda Collins on October 5, 2010
It’s estimated that up to 70% of job openings are never posted—so how do you find out about them? You need to create a network and then leverage those connections to get you in the right place at the right time. But, unless you’re very lucky, that doesn’t just happen on its own. You have to build the results you want. But how?
Get to know your network.
People who know you well are generally more inclined to help you. You may have hundreds or thousands of contacts, but it’s more effective to have just a few you know well and who are willing to act on your behalf. You can certainly strategize on who your best prospects are and develop relationships, but do so altruistically rather than with an agenda.
Treat people with respect.
If you don’t respect your network, they’re not going to have that warm and fuzzy feeling about you to help you. Treat them kindly and you’ll find that your contacts will keep you top of mind in their interactions.
It’s a two-way street.
You cannot just ask again and again without expecting to give something in return. Part of the effectiveness of a network means that you help each other. I have one recruiter in my database who helps a number of job seekers with the hopes they will remember him for their recruiting needs when they land a position. He doesn’t do it just for that reason, but he understands you have to give to get.
Know what you want.
As much as people may want to help you, they’ll have a hard time doing so if they have no idea what you’re looking for. Be clear and concise when you ask for help. Suggest certain industries or job titles to get them thinking. Even names of people will be helpful.
Don’t make assumptions.
At a networking event I attend, the HR rep from a sit-down restaurant chain often asks who wants to talk to him, and only a few people raise their hands. They assume he’s only looking for wait and kitchen staff, but the truth is that he’s often looking for all kinds of people—and he has a vast network that expands whom he can help. But if you put someone in a box, you may very well be closing doors.