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To get work, network

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/7/2006 | Jobs and Careers

It has been an open secret that most jobs are never advertised. Most people get placed through information gathered from some friend or acquaintance. This is known as the hidden job market. We all know about it. And we all know that without proper networking we dont stand much of a chance in getting the job we like in this competitive scenario. Yet many of us fail to make full use of our networking.

The concept of networking is simple. You meet a lot of people throughout the course of your life. Many of them are in positions where they can help you out by providing details about job openings. And if they put in a word for you, your chances will be that much more. In fact it can also be that no one else actually got to know about the opening other than you. However, not all the people you have met would be willing to help you. But some would. And not only would they help you in giving job leads. They also can give you advice and share their experience. They can even give you crucial information about certain industries or introduce you to people who can help you secure a job.

You start your networking from your home, friends and neighbors. Then go expanding. You can network with your friends relatives and neighbors and also your neighbors friends and relatives. The scope is immense. But never shy away from getting to know people. Try and make an impression so that they will remember you. But dont overdo things. You can further expand your network by talking to your colleagues, both present and past. You can also talk to your former bosses and teachers.

To be successful in networking you need to organize yourself. Get yourself a business card and keep some with you always to give away. Have a resume ready so that if some one asks for it he or she doesnt have to wait. If you think your skill sets require you to have more than one resume then go and make one or two more, each targeted specifically for a certain kind of job. Also maintain a database of all the people you have contacted with. If you have a computer at your place then use a spreadsheet to keep the records. Get as much contact details as possible. This would include mailing address, phone number, fax number, email address and URL. In case of using a computer, keep a back up of the file so that you dont accidentally lose all your data. Manage the business cards you receive carefully.

Always stay in contact with the people in your network. Send them holiday greetings. You should call them or email them at regular intervals. Never be afraid or shy for asking help. If your need is genuine most people would be willing to help you if they can. For successful networking, your network should know what your needs are.

You can always start by asking for information about specific industries or job sectors. This will show your interest about that particular work and would engage people in your network from that industry. Slowly you can move to asking for a job. By that time you should be sharing a good rapport and the person at the other end would also have had a fair assessment of you. Things can now get easier.