When you are looking for a job, who you know can literally be as important as what you know. Eighty percent of jobs are discovered through networking, making use of people who might offer help in the search. The best jobs, those that last and become a career, come through this route, experts say.
Many employers actually encourage current workers to recommend new hires, creating what is known as the “hidden job market.” Employees establish a “circle of influence” that benefits those looking for work.
The usual network includes family, friends, acquaintances, former co-workers and those who were your supervisors, school contacts, church associates and others in your circle of acquaintance.
You can add to the network by affiliating with professional groups, volunteering in the community, attending job fairs and taking advantage of social networking sites.
If you are on the search, make a list, including contact information, and set a date to begin systematically contacting those on the list. Make notes as you interact with those you contact. Keep the list current.
You may find the list expanding just through informal interactions with people in your normal activities. Don’t hesitate to make it known you are looking for a job, without being pushy, of course. Word of mouth tends to expand as people mingle in all kinds of settings.
State and local employment programs are a good source for information on listings. Local universities and colleges often have helpful resources as well.