In recent years, there has been an increase in the turnover of jobs. Yet an online search indicates that the majority of vacancies are never advertised. These vacancies constitute an invisible job market, leading to a conundrum: “How do you apply for a position you cannot see?”
The reply I often hear is “use your network”, but how does that work?
Curious to know what sets a successful networker apart, I took a look at my own contacts and I think I have got them figured.
Successful networkers map their networks and expand if needed. They contribute to their contacts and never ask for more than their network can provide.
Map your network
By mapping your network, I literally mean drawing a map of your network. Who do you know and how can they help you?
Don’t limit your network to family or close friends. Your network also includes people you have met at social events or your best friend’s cousin who works at that company you are interested in.
Once you visualise your network it becomes clear whether it can help you.
Expand and contribute
If you find a gap between the information you request and the feedback you receive, then you need to expand your network. Are you present in the right communities? Do you attend professional events? Are you visible and active in online groups and discussions?
Networking is a giver’s gain. It is important to care for your contacts. Be active and contribute. Forward job postings or share insights about upcoming events.
Ask for info, not a job
Finally, when you reach out to your network have a clear purpose, and don’t ask for more than your network can provide.
If you are interested in a specific company, ask your network to identify the company’s top five challenges and how it is coping. The key is: don’t ask for a job, ask for the information and knowledge that will help you spot and land a job.
Use these four steps. Hopefully they will help you illuminate your network, reveal new professional opportunities and hack the invisible job market.