Networking is the most effective means of accessing the hidden market. Its principles are easy to master and must be particularly embraced by those between jobs. It is vital that those in certain other categories also make networking the centrepiece of their career search strategy:
Those over 45 years old
Those making a career change
Those uncertain about their future career direction
Those over 45 years old. It’s a fact of life that it’s generally more difficult for older job seekers to make a change through the advertised market.
Those making a career change. The specification provided by a company to a recruitment consultant, defining the characteristics and experience of the person sought, will normally specify a track record for a minimum period in a particular industry or in a similar role. If you’re making a fairly significant change in direction it’s unlikely you will meet these criteria.
Those uncertain about their future career direction. Networking is a researching and information gathering exercise and as you meet and receive feedback from increasing numbers of people, your ideas will crystallise and you will see with greater clarity the type of role, industry or organisation that really suits you. Importantly, you will also learn the employers in this niche market, thus making it easier to target them.
For those who are currently employed, but who are seeking a change to a similar but more challenging role, networking is also recommended, notwithstanding the commitment and time required, because the potential is so large. Of course, unless your networking is performed on a very confidential basis, there is always a risk that your efforts to seek a career change could become known to your employer. But think through the consequences of this. In most cases it is very unlikely that this could lead to your involuntary and premature departure from your employer.
A by-product of networking is that it gives great purpose to life if you’re between jobs. You have appointments to arrange, companies to research, visits to make and thank you letters to write. Instead of waiting helplessly for a letter or phone call after you’ve responded to an advertisement or for a phone call after an interview, you’ll have much to do in planning your networking. Not only is this mentally stimulating and helpful in regard to morale, but career search is a numbers game and the more people you see and companies you visit, the sooner you are likely to get the job you want.