If active networking is not part of your current job search strategy, it really, really, should be. Today’s economy has left countless job seekers eager for employment opportunities, and employers often experience an overwhelming response to position postings. With so many strong candidates waiting in line, many employers find it easier to fill job openings directly instead of advertising on job boards or with placement agencies. The result? CNN has estimated that 80% of jobs are never advertised and instead filled through networking and employee referrals!
I hope that statistic made you wonder how many job opportunities you’ve inadvertently missed out on. Never ever underestimate the power of your connections during your job search. Networking opportunities exist all around you – not just at professional conferences or business meetings. You never know who might be sitting next to you on the train, or who might share an elevator with you during your lunch break. Show a sincere interest in those around you, as that might just be the seed needed to start growing a mutually beneficial networking relationship.
It might not come naturally to everyone to strike up conversations with near strangers. Just like riding a bike, practice will make perfect. You might choose to start building your networking skills with everyday people who are not intimidating, and then work your way up to professional networking events with higher level executives. You might find this recent Forbes article helpful for finding non-awkward ways to network with others in everyday situations. Read the rest of this entry