7 Networks and finding work
Whatever career benefits come from having a good network, a primary reason for developing and sustaining a network will be to allow you to access the work you want to do.
Although you cannot rely on your contacts to help you to find a job, as there are many other ways that businesses recruit employees, they can probably help by providing valuable information.
Before you think about how your networks can help you, look at the list below of some of the ways that employers recruit:
- newspapers and journals
- the Internet
- recruitment agencies
- job centres.
Activity 6 Networking to support job applications
Use these questions to identify how your network of contacts might help you with these different recruitment avenues. Write your answers in your notebook.
- Do you know how and where the organisation/profession you are interested in advertises their opportunities? How might you find out?
- Is there a specific profession to which you belong to or which you would like to join? Do you know anyone who currently belongs to it?
- Do you know anyone who has successfully found a job through an Internet site? What questions might you want to ask him/her?
- Do you know the best recruitment agencies for the kind of work you are seeking?
- How many people could I call for help, if I saw a job advertised that I am interested in? How could they help me?
You may have found it easier to answer some of these questions than others. The ease or difficulty may tell you something about your existing network.
Now, take a few minutes to reflect on how easy you found it to answer the questions and write down your thoughts in your notebook. Some questions are offered to prompt you but do not feel constrained by these. Make whatever notes feel pertinent to you.
- How easy was it for me to identify people in my network who could help me?
- Are there some key individuals in my network who seem to be of most use in my job search?
- Are there some gaps in my network which I might need to address if I am to find help in securing the work I want?
- My own thoughts …
As you have probably realised by this, your network of contacts is a potential goldmine of information. The skill is in being able to identify the people who might know – and who to ask.
You might be starting to notice that approaching people or asking them for information does not always rely on face-to-face or telephone contact. Depending on your preferences, you might find it a little less daunting to approach people by email or online, than by personal contact. It can give you more time to think about what you want to say or ask, and you can manage your reactions to the responses more privately. Alternatively, you might be less comfortable expressing yourself in writing, and prefer to meet or talk to someone. It is not that one way is necessarily better than another. Knowing which might work best for you can help in the early stages if networking is new to you.