Kara Atkinson (pictured below) is an expert in recruitment and founder of SPARC who specialise in sales and marketing executive roles. In this guest post, Atkinson explores the power of networking when it comes to finding your next dream job…
If you want to break into the hidden job market, you’ve got to be smarter about the way you connect with people who have inside knowledge about unposted job openings. Forbes says 80-85 per cent of all job openings are unlisted. Given the choice, most employers prefer to fill positions without advertising. It saves money and time. More importantly, hiring managers believe the most suitable candidates are through referrals from existing employees.
Keep Calm and Network
Janine Garner, Australian networking expert, has a cardinal rule for networking: Exchange Value Always. Keep in contact, forward articles that could be helpful to people you know; pass on job leads you’ve heard about. Networking is building genuine relationships, not asking for favours. Establishing value first ensures that when you have a need it will flow organically; and then, be easy to refer. An open brief where you tell people ‘I could do anything’ may demonstrate your flexibility, but it will decrease your ability to be referred. Get specific, be concise. Then follow up by email so they’ll have a handy summary of what was discussed.
Go Big or Go Home
It is surprising how few people contact employers directly unless they see positions advertised. Yes, it takes effort to craft a compelling request for an interview but smart managers are always interested in meeting professionals who can help their organisation. Drive this by staying up-to-date; sign up for Google Alerts for the companies you want to work for. Be the first to know when one leases additional office space, signs a big partnership deal or receives a new round of funding — all signs that the company might be hiring. Trade shows and conventions are also a hidden job market entry point. Conferences can be expensive, particularly if you’re out of work – consider reducing or even eliminating the cost of attending a conference by offering to volunteer.
Finally, if you like your current employer, but not your particular role, snoop around at work. There could be opportunities in other departments. Internal candidates often get preference over externals when positions need filling.