How to use networking to find a job

Ange Connor

We all know the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Well, when it comes to job searching, this old saying still holds true. Some mature-aged job seekers will tell you that they never had to apply for a job or write a resume “back in the day” – they just heard about opportunities through word of mouth and followed the lead.

In today’s world of job searching, it’s common to feel overwhelmed by the number of online job boards and application portals. It can be easy to forget that many job opportunities are not advertised, and that word of mouth still plays a significant role in recruitment. However, even in today’s tech-savvy world, leveraging personal networks can still be a valuable tool in the job search. I talk to employers every day who have vacancies and are not advertising. At Inspire HQ, we fill a large proportion of the jobs we recruit for through our networks.

So how can you use your networks when looking for a job? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Most people I talk to about using their networks don’t want to be a burden on other people. In my experience, people generally love to help others, but they might not know how to assist you unless you ask.
  • LinkedIn is by far the best online tool to leverage your networks. If you’re using LinkedIn, build your connections, make sure your profile is up-to-date and mentions that you’re open to new opportunities. And don’t be shy about reaching out to your connections!
  • When asking for help in your job search, be specific about the type of role you’re looking for. Saying “if you hear of anything, let me know” is a bit vague for some people. Instead, try something like: “Do you know anyone in the marketing industry (or insert whatever type of work that is of interest to you) who’s looking for a new employee?” or “Who do you know at Company ABC (insert the specific name of a company that this contact may have worked for in the past or currently works for) that I could chat to about potential job opportunities?” With these kinds of questions, you are much more likely to get a quality lead. Your contact has to stop and think of the name of a person they can connect you with. If they can give you this person’s contact details even better. The next step is to confirm that when you make contact with this person, that it’s ok for you to drop your contact’s name to help open the conversation.
  • Once you have a lead, it’s then up to you to follow up and turn that lead into an opportunity. Send a LinkedIn message, email, or even pick up the phone and give them a call, nothing beats picking up the phone and having a conversation.
  • Don’t rely solely on online job boards – use your networks to create more opportunities and open more doors.
  • Depending on your situation, if it’s common knowledge you are looking for work it’s much easier to leverage your networks and word of mouth. If you are still in a position and need to be discreet so your current employer doesn’t find out, you’ll need to take a much more reserved approach. After all, while our networks can help us in our job search, they can also hinder us; ever noticed how everyone knows everyone in Ballarat?

If you limit your job search to simply scrolling through an online job board each day waiting for your dream job to be advertised, you might be waiting a while. Get on the front foot and use who you know to open more doors and create opportunities.

Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth – it might just be the key to landing your dream job!

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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