Millions of job openings never get posted anywhere. These “hidden” opportunities account for a whopping 80% of all hires, according to a Forbes magazine article.
The only way you can find these never-posted jobs is by networking. It is critically important when networking for a job to be as educated, equipped and encouraged as you can be. Consider these top 10 tips for best ever networking.
Networking That Works
1. Have a strategy that combines online searching with on-the-ground connecting and all-the-time praying. Imagine you are dialing 1-800-Dear-God, calling by prayer the One Person who knows everyone, everywhere, all the time. Ask Him for help everyday before every meeting, phone call, email and online search.
2. Don’t search for a job – seek to serve. Look for people and organizations who need most what you do best, including your gifts, passion and calling. Be clear about what you have to offer to whom and what value it will bring
3. Use both eyes. One eye is for looking according to your plan. The other eye is for seeing how God is directing you. Always be prayerful, intentional and alert. Sometimes finding the right opportunity comes from seeing something you are not looking for. It follows the principle that: The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NASB)
4. Start with who you know. Be a good steward of those people God has given to you, including family and friends, at work and school past and present, in the neighborhood, community and church. With each connection or conversation, ask for a referral to at least one and hopefully more people who may know someone who might need what you do. Grow your list of contacts and relationships every day.
5. Find hidden jobs. Most employers first try to recruit candidates through people they know, such as employees, vendors and customers. Another startling statistic came from a private corporate study that demonstrated that applicants who had been personally referred were 42 times more likely to be selected than those without personal referrals.
6. Use all 3 ways to connect: In-person, by phone, and online. Online, including email, text, and messaging via social media, is most efficient, that is, more people reached in less time, but by itself, it lacks depth in building relationships. In-person can be most effective because it is personal and more complete communication, but it requires the most time. The best combination of efficiency and effectiveness is by phone, which is personal and direct, but does not chew up an hour or more per person. Do your best to meet each person’s preference in how they like to communicate.
7. Dial for dollars. Given all the ways you can network, only the phone offers quality and quantity of connecting fast and effectively. Work to get a personal referral so you can start the conversation with a personal and positive touch. Find or create a quiet and comfortable place with a good connection to make quality make calls. Ask if now is a good time to talk. If not, ask when would be a better time. Tell them what you want. Listen, take notes and repeat key points in what you hear. Say thank you and please. And keep it short and sweet. Followup with thank you email and next step. Read more about Dialing for Dollars.
8. Give, don’t just get. People hunger and thirst for comfort and joy. When networking, make a positive and refreshing deposit during each conversation. Approach and finish every encounter with open hands, a gentle touch and a hearing heart. May it be said of you: For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. (Philemon 7)
9. Networking scripts and cards. Equally important as resumes are networking scripts and cards that carry your core message of what you do best for whom. Start with developing a “30-Second Elevator” script that summarizes the employer needs you meet, the experience and unique ability you bring and the value employers receive. Once you have tested and refined your script, put your name contact info and keywords on a card. Make sure script and card sync with your resume and social media profiles. Learn more in our Crossroads Career Workbook.
10. Overcome the fear. Profuse sweating, shortness of breath and fuzziness of mind are sure signs that networking produces anxiety. If you are an introvert or not skilled in how to meet, greet and speak, find help. Start with your outgoing friends, and talk them about your networking. Go to group meetings of people like you with a buddy and practice. Join a local Toastmasters club, the world’s largest personal communications development organization. See video about Overcoming Fear at Work.
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