Thursday, 16 August 2007

The Power of Networking in Job Search


Networking is one of the oldest and most effective forms of job hunting available and yet it is also one of the least utilised. So before you scour the internet for a new job or flick through magazine advertisements here are a few thoughts about the power of networking in the job search process.

Personal Recommendation

This is a powerful weapon in your job hunting armoury because friends, family or colleagues are more often the best sources of information for finding job vacancies. How many of your colleagues have been for job interviews recently? It's worth asking around because if they have similar skills to you then it's likely that the jobs they have applied for will also be of direct relevance to you. Why wade through hundreds of jobs elsewhere if you can apply for one or two that have been personal recommended to you and that are a good match already. In addition if you apply to a company where you already know someone who works there, they can put in a good word for you.

A colleague of mine once recruited five skilled IT consultants without once having to advertise. The first person he called told a friend and so on until all five had applied for five available jobs and where successful. This can be much better for you as you are likely to end up working alongside people you know and are comfortable with, leading to increased levels of job satisfaction. So ask around before you spend time actively job hunting, because personal recommendation is a power networking tool in job search.

Bypass official Channels

Networking allows you to get a head start in the job search process. Once a job is advertised the chances of you being a successful applicant reduce, but if you are recommended by a friend or already have a social/professional relationship with the hiring manager you can get a head start. Whilst company’s don’t admit it they will speed up the interview process of a particular candidate if they come through from a recommendation. Better still the company may not have to advertise the job if another colleague mentions your credentials before a vacancy is officially made public, saving them time and money.

Improved knowledge of the job requirements

If you are applying for a job at a company where you already have friends, family or clients then this will improve your understanding of what the job requires and boost your chances at interview. Demonstrating to a prospective employer that you have intimate knowledge of their business or industry is a powerful tool and you will stand out more distinctively than another candidate who has a lesser understanding.

Inside information on the assessment process.

The key to making it through the assessment process is understanding what is required of you. Increasingly companies are turning to assessment centres which are set up to test various technical, interpersonal and knowledge based skills. Networking is an ideal means of obtaining information about what you can expect to face, whilst you won’t be able to find out the specifics of the tests involved, asking others who have completed these assessments can help you understand what you will be tested on. This can be really helpful as it gives you the opportunity to prepare yourself properly for the assessment to give you a solid start.

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