Creating And Using A Networking List For Your Job Search

job-search-networking

Top jobs aren’t always advertised, and even when they are, the best prospect is often identified well ahead of the recruitment process. To ensure that you maximise your own chances of landing a new position, consideration should be given for the relationships you’ve already formed, and the people you already know.

While many job seekers approach job search networking with an all-or-nothing attitude, this can also be harmful to your job search results. If you’re looking for a new position, avoid publicly announcing this fact to everyone you know, as you could easily appear ‘desperate’. Also, be careful when contacting old colleagues who you’ve lost contact with, with a sudden ‘I need a job’ conversation.

Develop long term networking relationships

People value on-going, trustworthy relationships, and are more likely to recommend you for a new position, if you’ve already proven your skills, knowledge and attitudes. If you are planning on changing roles, within the next six to twelve months, this is the time to start your job search networking now. Revisit those previous relationships, get to know what your old colleagues are up to now, and take a genuine interest in their company and their own personal goals.

Start your job search networking contact list

To get started on developing a list of people, who may be able to assist you in your job search, find a pen and paper, or open up a contact management program. You will need to be able to sort your contacts into categories, or groups, and add in extra information as required.

Start by adding the key people in your life, who you have had a positive relationship with, from the following areas:

  • Previous employers.
  • Previous colleagues, even from different departments.
  • Previous clients.
  • Associates from volunteer, sporting or community organisations.
  • People you’ve met at conferences or work events.
  • Previous teachers or classmates.
  • Friends who also work in a related field to yourself.

Most people end up with list containing 50 to 200 people.

Gathering Contact Details and Getting In Touch

Once you have your list, start by choosing people who you would like to make contact with again, to help you during your job search. You will need to prioritise your efforts, and work towards valuable relationships, rather than attempting to make contact, and keep in contact, with everyone on your list. If you’re finding that a particular person becomes less of a priority, then you can select someone else from elsewhere in your list, and focus your efforts there instead.

  • Add people you know well on Facebook, in case they are not there already, but ensure your personal page is strictly professional, and only gives off a good impression.
  • Follow and get in touch with people on Twitter, and most importantly, start up a conversation, even if it is only about the weather.
  • Update your profile on LinkedIn for your job search and contact/add all the professional contacts from your list. Have a look at their profile and updates, then send them a message to catch-up and make a reference to something they’ve done or said recently.
  • Maintain an e-mail contact list, and if it isn’t linked with your phone, also add in the numbers to your mobile. Do your research. Update the data, and use the Internet to find out the current numbers and addresses of the people you know. Visit their company webpage, and take an interest in what they do.
  • Make contact casually, without mentioning jobs or employment. Take an interest in your contacts life, the things that interest them, and the things they have personally achieved. Ask them out for coffee, or a meal. Suggest a catch-up meeting.
  • Remember relationships take time, but they can support you through many stages of your career, not just your current job search. Put the effort in now, and the rewards will come.

Learning how to say no at work without seeming lazy

saying-no-at-work

Success can be gained by being a ‘yes’ person. Especially in corporate environments, being easy to get along with, amicable, and always willing to help, could be your pathway to longevity in a company, and staying first on the list for a promotion.

This is not always possible though. There is a point when saying ‘yes’ to everything includes responsibilities that clash with each other, too large a work load, or added pressure to your own family and personal commitments.

The solution to being successful in a corporate career, is learning how to manage your responsibilities, and learning how to say ‘no’ at work, without your employers and co-workers considering that you are lazy or uncommitted.

The real pressures of saying ‘yes’ in the workplace

Employers know the control they have over their employees, their careers, their finances and their progression in life. Unfortunately, their understanding of this often leads to ‘bullying’ tactics, where a supervisor will pressure you into taking extra responsibilities.

The U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey (2007) was the largest scientific survey of bullying in the US. It concluded that bullying in the workplace is 400% more likely than illegal or discriminatory harassment. It places real stress on workers, and workplace bullies are predominately bosses, or people with supervisory power.

The use of bullying, leaves workers with the feeling they always need to say ‘yes’, to demands, for fear of losing their job, losing respect, and failing within their career. If you have huge financial demands, including a mortgage, and a family, saying ‘no’ can be very stressful, and sometimes almost impossible to do.

Being a ‘yes’ person for a high income

Sonia is a 55 year old product manager, who works with a multinational organisation. She has formed  a successful career, and is on a large annual income with bonuses, because she has always been a ‘yes’ person. Her company frequently requires her to travel internationally, and there have been times when she’s carried her luggage with her to the office, just in case she receives a phone call and needs to head straight to the airport.

Sonia says,

I always say yes. My travel is essential for my work, and it certainly does cause me to miss important days such as children’s birthdays and sporting carnivals. I can very rarely agree to anything outside of work, because of my work’s unpredictable nature; however my tendency to always agree to work, means I have been promoted, and I’m on the salary I’m on.

Being a ‘yes’ person to change jobs

Mathew is a telecommunications consultant from Sydney Australia, who works via a contract. He always ensures he agrees to his work demands, because he needs the best reference possible, to assist him with gaining a new contract.

He says,

If I leave a position, with my employer knowing I’ve worked hard, and done my best, they will always give me a good referral. Many times my contracts are forced to end, and my bosses can’t keep me on. If I have worked hard and always followed their requests, they will feel as though they owe me a positive referral into a new company. This is how I get my work.

Learning how to succeed, while still saying ‘no’ at work

Success can still be gained within your employment, while saying ‘no’. If you don’t want your career to be the only highlight in your life, you will need to learn how to balance your priorities, and occasionally say ‘no’, without seeming lazy. The secret is not what you say, but how you say it. This includes your commitment to the conversation at hand, your use of body language, tone of voice, and your dedication to achieving a win/win situation.

Listen attentively

When someone approaches you with a request, show that you are interested. Often, the first sign of extra responsibility is stress, and this can be conveyed to your requestor as negativity towards them, and rejection of their needs. Stay calm, be interested in their new ideas or projects. Show support for what they desire to achieve, and clearly communicate this. Remember, you are not dissatisfied with them or their goals, just your personal ability to help see them through successfully.

Avoid e-mails

If you need to say ‘no’, say it in person, rather than over an e-mail. If this is not possible pick up the phone. Firstly, they will recognise through this that you are making their interests a priority, and are not avoiding contact with them. Secondly, face-to-face and verbal communication provides much more conviction, and e-mail communication can often be misunderstood.

Offer an alternative solution

If you are unable to help, explain that you’d like to see results, but you are unable to help them personally. Clearly and confidently state the reasons you are unable to assist, and offer solutions that don’t involve your commitment.

  • “If I helped you, I couldn’t allocate time for at least 3 months. This looks like a project you need a quick turnaround for, and I can refer you to someone else who may achieve this faster for you.”
  • “I am not the best at this type of work, as it seems you require a specialised approach. If I learned these tasks it would take longer than I could afford. Is there someone you know who already has these skills and could get started ASAP?”
  • “I’d love to help. Do you think we could discuss this next month as I still have to finish xxx projects.”
  • “My other supervisor has asked me to do xxx. I am unsure which is more important. Are you able to arrange the priority between yourselves and notify me of this?”

Announce that you are busy ahead of time

You convey how you should be treated. When you are at work, stay focused and be publicly clear about your priorities. Explain to people that you are committed to achieving xxx, and that you will be unavailable for any other requirements, until a later date. If you act too busy, everyone will recognise this, and avoid piling up those extra pressures.

Sshhhh. Execute Your LinkedIn Job Search In Stealth Mode

secret linkedin job search

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with 150 million members worldwide and 25 million members who are located in the Asia Pacific region.

The corporate, resume-style profiles of the LinkedIn social media platform, allow you to make connections with existing colleagues, extend your professional network, and also search and apply for jobs.

However problems might arise during a LinkedIn job search, or while using LinkedIn when you are planning on starting your own business.

When used for conducting a LinkedIn job search or preparing for a new business venture, the social network allows you to connect and interact with people who might be able to help with your new endeavours.

You can join and participate in relevant LinkedIn groups, make connections with recruiters, employers & partners in your focus area, and even apply for publicly listed jobs. Also, recruiters, employers and potential partners can search for and contact you about opportunities.

Using LinkedIn for all these activities can be very public. If you are connected with your current colleagues and employer, they can get clued-in to the fact that you are actively pursuing other positions/ventures.

Being open about the fact that your current employer is not your priority any more, is not always a good idea. The level of secrecy you’d require will depend on the company’s position on the subject. There may not be too much of a concern, if your company has announced that they are downsizing or if you are at the end of your current contract.

However in most cases, such activities will cause extra pressure or negative consequences for you within your current place of employment.

Case Study: Transitioning from a corporation to a small business

Alex is a 45 year old marketing expert from Melbourne, Australia. For decades he worked for the same company, and had grown to be a valuable part of their team. The company had recently invested money into his postgraduate qualifications at university, with the vision he would remain with the company for a while.

Alex had always visioned that he would raise the capital to start his own small business, which would be fuelled by his qualifications and professional experience in marketing. At the age of 45, he decided to make this move, and commenced building his business, while still remaining at his current company.

Alex decided to use LinkedIn to extend his professional network, and form relationships with potential suppliers and clients for his new business. He immediately added his small business details into his LinkedIn profile, and actively sort to make connections with people who could help him grow his personal enterprise. Several people from his current company noticed these actions, through observation of his profile and newsfeed.

While there was no existing policy that stated he could not further a side-line business, his employers recognised he was distracted from his work, and was setting himself up to leave the company and work alone.  His supervisors made it increasingly difficult for him to remain in the company, with-held his usual bonuses, refused a due pay increase, and were no longer willing to provide him with financial and time allocations for his education.

Alex left his company, due to the added pressure, well before he had completely established his new business, and suffered a great loss of income because of his public LinkedIn activities.

secret linkedin job search

How to use LinkedIn in stealth mode when starting a new  business.

In the case of starting your own business, here are some tips to consider:

  • Turn off your automated public announcements. Make changes in LinkedIn settings to ensure your updates, including your new connections, aren’t broadcast on your newsfeed. This prevents suspicion via a sudden influx in activity.
  • Contact potential suppliers or clients privately. You can add them to your network and interact with them through private messages.
  • Be careful with public forums such as LinkedIn groups. There is little concern if you have very generalised conversations that relate to your professional development, or courses that you may be studying, but withhold from topics specific to the side-project you’d like to keep secret.
  • Do not add your current business ownership to your resume. Through private messages, you can communicate your plans for a ‘new business’ that will be operating at a later date, if you are confident these connections are not associated with your current place of employment.

How to secure a new job via LinkedIn, while keeping your LinkedIn job search a secret.

Even if you aren’t starting a new business, but are seeking to secure a new position within a new company, your current employer may not be overly supportive. If you start adding in recruiters to your contacts list, and make obvious changes to your profile, you will instantly send off an alert, regarding your intentions.

  • Turn off your automated public announcements.
  • Keep your current LinkedIn profile positive. Make it clear that you are happy in your current position, enjoy working with this company, and are pleased with the experience they are currently providing you with.
  • Avoid mentioning a completion date, for your position within your current company. Leave it open ended, so everyone understands you still work there.
  • There is no need to publicly announce your job search, via statuses, updates or through messages on groups.
  • Interact with new connections, as though they relate to your current position. There is no harm in adding old or existing colleagues, or people you have met at conferences or other areas of your life. This is very natural for someone who is currently employed, but wants to stay in contact with people they know or expand their professional network.
  • Use LinkedIn to connect with people for job search networking and continue interactions offline.

Use Twitter To Find Recruiters & Develop Rewarding Relationships With Them

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Believe it or not, Twitter can help you launch that perfect career, and savvy professionals know the benefits of  investing in long-term relationships online.

Recruiters and employment agencies, from around the world, use Twitter to broadcast ideas, updates and jobs in real-time. They are also there waiting, for you to connect with them and promote yourself, through online interactions. This article, will help you get started, and get tweeting, with the recruitment agencies who are already using Twitter.

What is Twitter?

You can quickly learn the basics of Twitter, by visiting Twitter and also by seeing their glossary. Once there you can create your own profile, and start exchanging tweets with other Twitter ‘followers’. The principal behind Twitter, as a simple, yet progressive social media platform is that brief concepts, breaking-news, public messages, or even random daydreams, can be publicly distributed instantly, in real-time.

Twitter messages, are called ‘tweets’ and are always restricted to 140 characters. If a tweet includes an image or a website address, the link is displayed in a shortened form, to maintain the condensed quality of the message. A tweet can simply be text without a link, or it could include the title of a news report or blog, that is published elsewhere on the web, and the accompanying link will take you to it.

When you create a Twitter profile, you get to display a small image and write a brief bio about yourself. You can follow other people from all around the world, which means you will receive all of the tweets they post in the form of a ‘feed’. Once you start following a number of other tweeters, your Twitter feed will be an active hub of ideas and information. The tweets of the people you are following, will appear in front of you, in real-time.

You can follow people you know well, your friends, family and colleagues, however the charm of Twitter is that it is socially accepted for you to follow people you’ve never met, or have little in common with. In fact, it is actually expected that you will do this.

Following recruiters on Twitter

If you join Twitter, you can start to follow employment agencies, companies you’d like to work for, and other people who may be the pathway to your earning a perfect job. Twitter is an online social networking tool, and Twitter profiles are created by both individuals and businesses. If you follow a recruiter’s profile on Twitter, you will receive instant updates about new information/jobs that they post, and you will also have the opportunity to forge a meaningful and memorable relationship with that recruiter, through your Twitter interactions.

Finding the right recruiters on Twitter

Before you start following recruiters, the first thing you need to do, is consider the type of job you would like to get. While you may just be browsing, or open to new opportunities in general, understanding and specifying your own career goals, will help narrow your search for relevant people/companies on Twitter.

Geographical location: As an example, if you are located in Hong Kong, and you want to be employed within that region, you should be seeking recruiters on Twitter that are based within Hong Kong or Asia. There are many world-wide recruitment agencies, however ensure that they actually cover the region you are seeking to work in.

Many large agencies will have a geographical focus, and at the same time, there are many niche agencies who only post jobs within a certain city, town or state. The more specific the recruiter to your needs, the more beneficial they can be for you, and the more meaningful your relationship will be with them.

Professional specialisation: Besides location, many recruiters specialise in a particular industry or profession. Consider the area you want to work in, what you are good at, and what you can offer a potential employer. Start searching for recruiters who specialise in your field, so you know the jobs they post will be relevant to you and your credentials. You can still be broad, yet intelligent with your choices. If you are a graphic designer, as an example, you may still find benefit from following web design, illustration, IT and general creative services recruiters. The whole idea, is that you are developing connections with, and following the tweets of individuals and organisations, who can assist you in furthering your career.

Searching for recruiters

Some of the strategies you can use to find recruiters include searching for industries, locations, and keywords such as ‘employment’, ‘jobs’ and ‘careers’. Also, make use of the Twitter hash tag (#) to narrow down your search further. Use the Twitter Advanced Search function for this. Recruiters also like to follow each other, so check out their lists. Who are they following? Who is following them? If you find a suitable recruiter elsewhere online, locate their Twitter details, and start following them also.

Interacting with recruiters on Twitter

Once you’ve started following suitable recruiters, you can do more than wait for a suitable job to be posted. Twitter is a social media platform, and as there are real people behind the tweets in recruiter’s Twitter profiles, you should make the most of interacting with them, and leaving a good impression.

Twitter gives you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd in the recruitment process. This does not mean you need to be pushy or force yourself on the recruiters. It is certainly not recommended that you instantly and publicly announce your job search, and eager attitude to the recruiters over Twitter. A strong sense of desperation won’t work in your favour, and you could easily be disregarded as quickly as you signed up to your account.

Be present. Be helpful. Be genuine.

You can interact with recruiters on Twitter by re-tweeting their job postings, which is offering your assistance to both them, and your other colleagues who might receive them.  You will create an impression of being a socially-connected person, who is willing to help, and is aware of the world around them. You can re-tweet any of their public announcements, especially those that you’ve chosen not to apply for yourself. Also, allow yourself to make professional conversation, especially if one of their tweets is inviting a social response.

Ensure that your own profile is professionally presented, with an accurate and informative bio and an impressive photo. Tweet your insight on your industry/function and relevant articles you come across. If and when recruiters follow you back, they will be able to view all of your tweets themselves.

Further the relationship away from Twitter

Once you have been interacting on Twitter for a while, consider adding recruiters on your other social media profiles, including Facebook or LinkedIn. When you send them a request to connect, remind them that you’ve been following each other on Twitter, and you’d like to further the relationship via a new platform.

Most importantly, remember that the perfect job for you, may not arrive within a day or a week, however the long-term relationships that you develop with recruiters over Twitter, could mean you land that perfect job, and reap the rewards of a new career, somewhere down the line.