The pressure of navigating through a job search when you are unemployed can be overwhelming. After spending countless hours scouring online job boards or searching through advertisements, the task can seem lonely and mundane. You can spruce up your efforts, though, by focusing on networking. Through social interaction with professionals in the field, job opportunities may just land in your lap when you least expect them.
1. Tap Into the Hidden Market
Networking is often referred to as the "hidden job market." Job seekers who focus on making connections and marketing their skills in the industry can tap into opportunities that are not advertised to the public. Although it is still beneficial to apply to positions that are advertised, it is likely that those companies are flooded with resumes. You can increase your chances of getting a job offer by building a network of other professionals who can serve as references and may even bring you job leads that haven't hit the job boards yet.
2. Attend Industry Events
Build your network of professionals by attending local industry events related to your field. Dress professionally and arm yourself with business cards to pass out to people you meet. These events offer job seekers an opportunity to carry on informal conversations yet also present themselves in a formal manner. Make small talk with the people you meet, and casually mention that you are seeking work.
3. Join Professional Organizations
Professional organizations offer benefits for job seekers that include access to special events, online industry tips and educational opportunities at conferences and seminars. Use this opportunity to meet people who are like-minded and build your knowledge of innovative practices related to your ideal position.
4. Perfect Your Pitch
As you rub elbows with professionals in the industry, don't make the mistake of having nothing to say. Create a 30-second elevator pitch that you can gradually ease into conversations at networking events. Focus on your skills related to the positions you desire, and highlight accomplishments within previous jobs. Although many job seekers worry about boasting, there is a key difference between bragging and confidently sharing your talents. Practice the pitch in front of a mirror to ensure your demeanor shows your confidence without an arrogant tone, and remember to smile and show off your personality.
5. Utilize Social Media
Job seekers seeking to rise above the challenges of unemployment must utilize multiple methods to network. Social media is one of the fastest growing ways to connect with potential employers and hiring managers. Create professional profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and post informative articles related to your field. Reach out to people who are prominent in the field as well. Use these platforms to gain an audience and brand yourself as an expert in the industry.
Networking is crucial for job seekers. Vary your strategies to expose yourself to professionals online and in person to increase your career opportunities and, ultimately, land your dream job.
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