Networking: how to use it to find a job
Advertising jobs takes up a lot of time and money for employers, so most jobs are filled by networking.
Networking is passing on information. You network every day. When you speak to a friend you might recommend a film, a hairdresser, or a good restaurant. Just as you network in your personal life, you can use your contacts to help with job hunting. It's also a great way to find out about a particular career and whether you might like it.
You can network with anyone. You could start by talking to people you already know about their jobs and who they know. Once you start, you'll be surprised at how quickly the list of people you know gets bigger.
Get comfortable with networking
At first you might feel uncomfortable with the idea of making contacts to 'get something from them'. Try to look at networking as two-way - you offer your skills and abilities in return for support and information.
Don't think you need to be a very outgoing person. You can continue to be yourself, but make sure you are enthusiastic and interested in the career you're finding out about.
Learn to bounce back
Everyone gets knocked back at some stage. The contact you speak to may be pushed for time or not hiring at the moment. Thank them for their time anyway and ask if they can recommend anyone else that might be able to help.
If you're new to networking and get knocked back, try to think about how you can learn from it and change your approach for future networking opportunities.
How to network
A good way to start networking is to:
- make a list of who you know, which positions they hold, and who they know
- identify your existing networks, like family, friends, acquaintances, referees
- have a clear idea of who you want to talk to and why you're interested in the organisation
- research what a company does and what your contact's role is
- think about what you can offer the organisation before approaching them
- keep a record of contacts listing everyone you've spoken to, their contact details and their positions
- chat to professionals on web forums or on social media