“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
Understanding Your Network
Each and every one of us has a large network of contacts, however most of us don’t realize this. Your network is likely to consist of your friends, your family and colleagues. The theory that we’re only six steps away from anyone in the world might have been a bit far-fetched, but there is some truth in the idea. It’s unlikely that you will know all of the friends of your friends and this is where you could find a potential job opportunity. The most important point to remember about your network is that it is larger than you can imagine and has people you’ve never even met… yet.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are ideal for contacting and becoming noticed by employers that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to speak with in person. For instance, did you know that 97% of users registered with LinkedIn use it to source candidates for jobs? Refugee Start Force has created several groups that allow you to meet new people.
Meetings and events
You can expand your network by attending social meeting, networking meetings and job matching events that are aimed at specific types of businesses, industries and functional areas (Medical, IT, Hospitality, etc.). With each person you meet, ask for contact details. Carry out research beforehand of companies that you’d like to speak to, and try to spend time to get to know their attendees. Your goal is to leave a lasting impression that you can follow up on down the line. Not every business is going to see your potential, but the contacts may be useful with your job search.
Utilizing your Network
The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is still relevant. With your network of contacts expanding by the day, your chances of securing a job will increase considerably. You need to spread the word through your contacts that you are on the market looking for a job and are open to suggestions; you can do this by keeping in regular contact with your network.
Make a list of priorities and which of your contacts would make the best reference for each priority. How many of your contacts have jobs in the field you’re targeting? By creating a list of contacts who have the highest potential of providing you with a job lead and communicating with them frequently, you are using your personal network effectively.