The economy has lost over 500,000 jobs in 2008 and unemployment has climbed to a five year high. It is more important than ever for job seekers to prepare a plan for their job search and use networking to find and secure their next job.
Too many job seekers spend their days surfing job boards. If they only understood that only 10% of all jobs are filled through the Internet. Applying on-line to blind ads has become a black hole for job seekers leading to frustration and ultimately no job offers.
With more than 70% of all jobs filled through personal referrals, job seekers need to learn networking skills, meet hiring managers face-to-face and sell themselves in person rather than surfing the Internet.
To start a job search job seekers should be able to tell people why they are looking for a job. The answer should be short, factual and positive. This is a place where TMI, too much information, can hurt you. Most people will ask out of curiosity so satisfy their curiosity and move on. Your answer should not generate additional questions as the more time you spend talking about the past the less time you will spend talking about the future.
Crafting a clear Personal Marketing Story (PMS) will help people understand what you have to offer your next employer. Your PMS should start with your transferable skills. These are the skills you are the absolutely best at and enjoy using the most. Next, share the personal characteristics which others you have worked with have described you. Together your skills and characteristics are the features you have to offer your next employer. Include an example of a professional accomplishment, which is the benefit you have to offer an employer. The ending of your PMS is a description of the type of position you are searching. The clearer the message the easier it is for others to assist you in your job search. Share your PMS with everyone you meet.
To help the people you meet understand where you want to work it is the job seekers responsibility to identify potential employers that could utilize their skills and hiring mangers in those companies that they would like to meet. When job seekers meet people while networking they should share their target list of companies and people asking three questions.
1. Do you know anyone on my target list that you could introduce me to?
2. Do you know anyone that works at any of my target companies that you could introduce me to?
3. Are there other companies or people that should be on my target list?
Once you have developed your plan it is time to meet as many people as you can in pursuit of your next job. Your networking campaign is designed to start with the people you know connecting you to the people you want to know. The clearer your Personal Marketing Message and more specific your target list, the faster you find your next job.
Most job seekers do not understand networking and many of those that do have a great fear of networking. The two barriers that people need to overcome are the fear of rejection and the feeling of asking for help.
Ending up in a job search will test your confidence and the last thing we want to experience is additional rejection. If you keep three simple concepts in mind you find that 99% of all people will be willing to assisting you in your job search.
First, never talk about a job when you are networking. When you ask about a job it puts the person in an uncomfortable position, if the answer is no then the conversation will be very short and they will not be willing to introduce you to their colleagues to be put in the same uncomfortable position. Have faith in yourself and the people you meet that if your Personal Marketing Message is clear and they actually are aware of a possible job match they will bring it up to you.
Second, always be looking for ways to assist the people you are meeting. Work hard to make your interaction with people a two way street. Provide a copy of an interesting article, recommend a great book you recently read or introduce them to someone you know. Find a way to bring value to the other person.
Last, start every interaction with the intent that the relationship will last a life time not just the 20 or 30 minutes that you meet to do your networking. A clear Personal Marketing Message, specific target list and the right approach to networking will make your job search shorter and a better experience.
Listen to Internet marketing expert Bob Sommers interview with executive coach and author Frank Danzo on how to get hired. Discover how ordinary people secure the jobs communications experts pursue.