Over the past five years, I have taught résumé-writing classes to literally thousands of people, and every single time I get into a classroom, I ask the attendees where they are looking for employment.
Believe it or not, but out of all of those people, I've only met two (yes, really-2) that have ever found employment via a job board like Monster.com. This can be pretty discouraging for a job seeker. So this now begs the question: Where exactly DO you find jobs?
Hint: The website ExecuNet reports that 70% of executives find employment through their networks.
What does that mean for you? The answer is the same: the key to job search success is totally based on the people that you know.
Building your network means getting out of the house and meeting people, and there are plenty of avenues to do so.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1) Trade Associations
What industry are you in? Chances are, there’s some kind of trade association for it, and usually those membership-driven organizations have monthly networking meetings. Usually a fee is charged to attend, but imagine what kind of value you’d get for paying $35 to sit next to the CEO of the company you’re gung-ho about!
2) Business groups
A chamber of commerce or business association is usually a bonanza for meeting people and connecting to potential employers. Even if there aren’t any open positions at a particular company, this could prove to be a great opportunity to talk casually with influential people who could be tapped for an informational interview later.
3) Seminars and workshops
Connecting up with like-minded people in industry-specific training can be a great way to link up to fellow professionals who could be the ‘eyes and ears’ in the industry and keep you posted on imminent job postings.
4) Online business networking
With the advent of such sites as LinkedIn, Plaxo and ZoomInfo, having an Internet presence can boost your networking opportunities. Are you an expert in a particular field? Answer questions on sites like LinkedIn and establish yourself as an industry source. That helps position you as a helpful and knowledgeable contributor, which can have a great benefit when employers search these sites.
5) Talk to your friends
Letting friends know you are on the job hunt can also bring contacts and informational interviews. Everyone needs a job search advocate or two, and the people that you know can step into this role and even connect you to possible employment opportunities.
6) Don’t be afraid to use your Rolodex
In this ‘dog-eat-dog’ world, everyone else is leveraging their contacts to the fullest, and so should you. Most business people have a healthy Rolodex bulging with business and industry contacts. It’s time to cash in those chips! You need to be absolutely fearless and jump right in. Send these contacts an email or give them a ring to let them know what kind of job you are seeking. You might be completely surprised what happens next!
Hopefully, these tips have gotten you thinking about what you need to do to escalate and elevate your job search. It’s not about sitting at home on the computer and sending in a résumé to a website. That’s the front-door approach. How you get the job is by coming around through the back door utilizing a contact that you know and can be an internal advocate for you.
Executives are doing it, and so can you!