Network: a group of people connected to you by friendship, professional contact, and social association.

In today’s tight job market, job hunters have to use a variety of techniques to find and get jobs. One of the most important of these is networking. It’s a key to the hidden job market– jobs that are open but not advertised.

The Hidden Job Market

The hidden job market consists of all the jobs that never reach the want ads, job listings or employment agencies. These jobs come up for many reasons when someone leaves, retires or dies, and business hires staff, a company merges or reorganizes, or an employer isn’t exactly sure what positions are needed. The hidden job market offers virtually every type of situation.

Many companies don’t need to advertise jobs because the grapevine will do it for them. Many employers prefer not to announce an opening. They would often hire people they know or have met. They find it easier to call on colleagues for advice. An applicant that has a recommendation from an employer’s staff or friend is half-way to getting the job even before the interview. How can you unlock this hidden job market? By networking, but it’s not just a matter of calling everyone you know. Experts in employment counselling say building the right network can make a big difference in whether your job-hunt will be successful or not.

Building a Network

Networks are about relationships, developing a rapport with people so that they become interested in you as a person and genuinely want to give you information and advice. Networking is a process of achieving your personal and professional goals through interaction with other individuals.

Developing networks is slow, one conversation at a time. The trick to making the right kind of system is not to see how much you can take from it but to ask yourself what you can contribute. There’s a golden rule to networking. There must be mutual respect and interest among all members. Networking throughout your lifetime is significant. You should never lose your network, but it needs to be developed and nurtured for all of your life. In case they’re out of work in the future, even people with jobs today should be actively networking.

Nurturing Your Network

Cultivating a network is a combination of careful organization and thoughtfulness. Here are a couple of suggestions on ways to make your system grow and develop.

Maintain files of people in your network: Each record contains information on your contacts such as name, address, likes, dislikes, interests and unique qualities.

Listen more than you speak: Listening will teach you about another person’s unique qualities. When you learn something interesting about a contact, write it down. Work on your network at least 30 minutes each week.

Stay in touch: Relationships need constant work. Remember people’s birthdays and holidays. Send congratulations and thank-you notes.

Do volunteer work: Volunteering broadens and diversifies your network. You’ll develop new skills and meet many new people.

Be visible: Look for opportunities to be a spokesperson. Public speaking will bring you acceptance and recognition. People will want to get to know you.

Always do your best: Networking can’t replace incompetence. Even if you’re volunteering, Make sure you excel at what you do.

Effective networking shouldn’t be time-consuming. Only 30 minutes a week is necessary for nurturing a network. You can’t accomplish your goals by yourself. You need other people. Networking is never purely selfless, but your genuine interest in others will have results.

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