Why don’t you get a job? Why don’t you get a job? Why don’t you get a job? Notice how the meaning of that one question can change based on where you put the emphasis.
Searching for a job isn’t an easy task to begin with and it is even more difficult in this economy. Lately, several people I know seem to be in the midst of a job search, even those who are already in a good job. I learn a lot with each job search I go through and I am often asked for advice on this particular activity (the advice requests may be more the result of my direct connection to a most excellent career development expert, my husband!) I thought it was time to put some of that advice down in print to make it more accessible to others.
This whole week will be dedicated to the dreaded ‘Job Search’. Today will focus on networking. Tuesday we’ll stick with technology and offer some tech tips that can aid in a job search. Wednesday will be on preparing for your search. Thursday will include tips on interviewing. We’ll finish on Friday with follow-up and the end result.
Networking is by far the most important thing you can do for yourself and your career. Period. What are some things you should know about networking?
Networking is about helping others.
What? Don’t all job search books and websites tell you that networking is the most important things you can do for your own job search? This is true; however, most jobs are still the result of a good network. Networking is about being nice to others. Networking is about getting to know people and what they need and then trying to help them fill that need. Networking is about adding value to someone else’s life. The more you give of yourself, the more people will want to give back to you when you need it.
Networking should be a habit…a regular and consistent habit.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when networking is that they only network when they need a job. First, this violates the first point that networking is about helping others. Second, it takes time to build a solid network. Third, networking is not something you do on a part-time basis or just now and then. You have to network all. the. time.
Networking is about quality, not quantity.
Networking is about relationships. Relationships take time and energry. Social networking has made networking easier in some ways, but your network will still only be as effective as you are willing to make it. Is it better to have 500 connections or friends on a social network, most of which you don’t know what their needs are or how you can help them, or to have a very solid network of 200 people, where you know everyone and can identify how you might be helpful to them. If you can be helpful to them, chances are they will know how to be helpful to you as well. It’s okay to have many people in your network, but be sure to develop those relationships.
Your network is larger than you think.
Networking is partly who you know, but many people think they have to know those at the top for networking to work well. Never underestimate the power of a connection regardless of where a person fits into an organization, even if someone isn’t directly in that organization. You’d be surprised how many people your hairdresser may know. You’d be surprised how much the UPS delivery person knows about a particular company. Identifying who should be in your network is as easy as making a list. Start with your family and write down family members, then write down who you went to school with, people you know in the community, people you work with, etc. Before you know it you’ll have a very large network of people you know.
Networking is easier than you think.
Start with your list of people in your network. Be sure to develop solid relationships with the people in your network. Find out what they need and see if and how you can help them, even if it is just connecting them with someone else in your network who can directly help them. Networking is also easy at your ‘traditional’ networking events, such as conferences, job fairs, etc. Networking at these events is often about making new connections. The key to making new connections is asking questions, listening, and getting to know someone. If you’re shy or introverted, develop a list of questions (open-ended) ahead of time so that you have something to start with. Most importantly, listen more than you talk. Then follow-up and maintain those new relationships.
Go into networking with a positive attitude. Set yourself some networking goals; one goal could be that you will try to establish three new connections every week (that will give you 150+ after one year!). Build and maintain those relationships. This doesn’t mean that you have to connect with everyone in your network every day, but you should main relationships so that you are connecting with people more than just once a year.
You’ll be amazed how quickly your network grows. You’ll feel great because you’re helping others and making a difference. Finally, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many people are willing to help you when you need it.
I’ll leave with you a music video to help psyche you up to build your network, and even get a job if you that is what you need. I wanted to leave you with Why Don’t You Get a Job? from The Offspring on Vimeo, but evidently Sony doesn’t allow a direct embed, so you just get the link here. Since The Offsprng may not be for everyone, I’ll end with a little doo-wop called ‘Get a Job’ by The Silhouettes.