Never Stop Networking!
The best way to connect your cover letter and resume to your dream job is by networking!
What's networking? Networking simply means telling people that you are looking for a job and enlisting them into your job search team.
It is a focused way of developing and building a group of contacts; people who can provide career information that can lead to a new or better job. It can include advice, recommendations, or actually being hired. Each person you meet and have contact with brings you one step closer to getting the job you want.
These people can include your family, friends, neighbors, people you knew at school, former co-workers and professional people like doctors and lawyers. Even if you don't know people very well, most are willing to help if you ask.
Ask the people in your network if they know about any openings. Also ask them to ask their friends, family and co-workers about any possibilities. Research shows that this "third level" can yield results. You will often find a job not through who you know, but through someone that your friend or contact knows.
How Effective Is Networking?
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that 94 percent of successful job hunters claimed that networking had made all the difference for them.
Sixty to 90 percent of jobs are found informally - mainly through friends, relatives, and direct contacts. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 63.4 percent of all workers use informal job finding methods.
Mark S. Granovetter, a Harvard sociologist, reported to Forbes magazine that "informal contacts" account for almost 75 percent of all successful job searches. Agencies find nine percent of new jobs for professional and technical people, and advertisements yield another 10 percent or so.
The Benefits of Networking
If you are serious about finding the best position for your next career move in a timely manner, you must network.
At least 60 percent of job openings in the U.S. are not filled through advertising, recruiters or other traditional methods. They are filled through networking and informal contacts. The goal is to move into the hidden, un-advertised job market, using every available resource that contact with other people will provide you.
Current employees are among the best sources of referrals. Many firms report that 40 to 50 percent of their openings are filled by candidates referred to by staff members. Moreover, companies view such candidates more favorably than those brought in through other methods, because they already know something about the organization and have a personal connection with it.
Here's an example of the extraordinary benefits of networking from The Job Hunting Handbook: Includes the Job Outlook to 2008 by Harry Dahlstrom. Mr. Dahlstrom writes: Just pretend that you are an employer and you have a job opening to fill. Which of the following would you be most eager to interview: (a) an unknown person who answers your advertisement, (b) an unknown person who mails you a resume, or (c) a friend recommended by one of your workers? No doubt, you would choose the "friend". All the other applicants are unknowns. As a manager, you would probably think, "Jennifer is a good employee...hard working...likes the job...someone I can depend on. I'll bet her friend has the same qualities."
If you are wondering why a busy professional would take the time to meet you remember; (1) The average person enjoys helping others, and information and advice are free to give (even when jobs aren't); (2) People enjoy talking about themselves, their ideas, and their opinions; (3) Every now and then, people enjoy a break in their daily routine; and finally, (4) Most people are not so busy that they don't have a free half hour sometime during a week. -- Source: The Job Hunting Handbook: Includes the Job Outlook to 2008 by Harry Dahlstrom.
Brief Statements, BIG Results
Prepare 5 to 10-second statements about yourself and what you have to offer.
It's not enough to have great talents and qualifications to get a job. You have to sound great too! Your opening statement sets the tone for your entire job search strategy. Take Networking for example. Knowing how to ask for, and receive, the valuable information you require is the key to finding the right job.
Delivering 5 to 10-second statements that instantly brings into focus the information you desire is critical to your success. Preparing these brief statements is no easy task. It takes a lot of time and effort summarizing who you are and what you want. However, your efforts will be rewarded as your listener's will recognize your professionalism and be more willing to help. By skipping this essential step, your chances for success will greatly diminish.
Most job hunters have difficulty describing their area of specialty.
Ask a member of the Career Playbook Team what they do and you might hear, "We help people develop action plans and strategies to succeed in their job search and get the results they want fast". If delivered properly, your listener will ask a follow-up question, such as; Tell me more, or, How do you do that?
An accountant might say, "I'm a Certified Public Accountant. My specialty is business and tax planning. I'm currently looking for a CFO position with an organization that wants to improve their bottom line".
A person in sales might say, "I'm a sales manager with proven experience hiring, training and motivating successful sales teams. I'm looking for a management opportunity helping a company grow sales and open new revenue streams".
Brief statements are a consequence of the breakneck speed of today's business world, as time and attention spans are far too short. It's hard to be concise. But the less you say, the more you are understood.
That's why reporters quote experts who are quotable! They only have a small amount of space to write their story, so they need to be concise. If you have this skill, you will be more successful in your job search.
On average, statements of about five to ten seconds translate into approximately 15 to 30 words. Therefore, carefully choosing the right words to create effective statements is vital. With practice, and knowledge about what you want from your networking contacts, most people will be only too happy to help you.