Getting a Job Through Networking

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Networking for a Job

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Networking is one of the key skills in today’s world of work and a marked differentiator between those who are successful and those who are less so. There still seems to be negative connotation associated to the term of networking – old school tie, organisational politics, and a dark art mastered by only a select group.  Some even think of networking as yet more time commitment in a busy working day.

Yet even in today’s slightly more meritocratic world, a lot of jobs are taken unadvertised through networks. We reveal some of the more structured ways for networking to find the perfect job.

Networking Definition: What is Networking?

Many jobs are filled through the ‘hidden market’ as managers want to appoint people who they know and trust.
As a definition, it is simply:

The creation, development and use of personal contacts for mutual benefit.

Networks are somewhat different from other groupings, as they tend to be:

  1. Non-hierarchical
  2. Informal
  3. Status based on knowledge and usefulness to other group members

Examples of Networking Groups

  1. Meetings of a professional institute
  2. Meetings with colleagues (or former colleagues) over lunch
  3. Talking with people at conferences
  4. Socially drinking with friends and talking through work issues
  5. Phoning people who might be interested in your ideas

And, within your current and previous organisations:

  1. Other business areas
  2. Other members of your profession in other parts of [company]
  3. Joint venture partners and other business strategic alliances
  4. Regulators and government bodies
  5. Trade associations
  6. People in other parts of the business who are doing interesting things – particularly members of project groups and other task-focussed transitional work groups

To help you, we have prepared a download worksheet to capture your network visually. Complete the form just below to download the worksheet and register for Candidate Tips new articles and job search tips.

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Why Network?

Many jobs are filled through the ‘hidden market’ as managers want to appoint people who they know and trust.
Although less elitist than in the past (old school network), the idea that people get jobs and contracts by knowing the right people still very much applies. Many jobs are filled through the ‘hidden market’ as managers want to appoint people who they know and trust. At the entry level, many employers provide gifts to current employees for finding them new staff. At the senior level, jobs will often go to those that are already known to the business, or known to senior people in the business. Therefore having good connections is an important factor in your future career growth. At Candidate Tips we often say that most jobs are already gone before the advert hits the notice board.

Here are a few facts about networking which provide a more than excellent case for taking this subject seriously:

  1. Managers with large personal networks get higher paying positions than those with small networks (Wheatley, M. J.).
  2. Managers with large and diversified networks get promoted faster at a young age (Boxman, A. W., De Graaf, P. M. and Flap, H. D.).
  3. Professionals who find roles (internal or external) through personal contacts rather than advert, find better and more satisfying jobs and stay longer (Montgomery, J. D.).

Networking and Your Career

In the old days it was a job for life. Careers were very much to do with incremental vertical progression a bit at a time. One didn’t change organisations too often and it was even more rare to change career direction completely.
Early career is relatively easy. We adopt a set of skills and they are enough during those first career years. When we take our first managerial role technical skills plus a little training can still just about get us through. But as we move up, technical skills are no longer enough. Success depends more and more on relationship skills: how well we build relationships with peers, reports, bosses, suppliers, customers and all the other stakeholders involved in our work. Study after study demonstrates how success as a manager and career depends on our ability to cultivate, maintain and utilise a vast array of relationships inside and outside the business. And this ability to network becomes more important the higher up the hierarchy we go.

Getting a Job Through Networking: The Changes Over Time

In the old days it was a job for life. Careers were very much to do with incremental vertical progression a bit at a time. One didn’t change organisations too often and it was even more rare to change career direction completely. And things have changed with a far more fluid market. Individuals move jobs and careers more frequently.

Unfortunately, not all processes to help with career change have kept the same pace. Networking can help provide the information within your business in order to make the right changes at the right time. Remember, a lot of jobs have already gone even before they hit job boards – and that’s a consequence of networking.

Networking within the business will help you clarify your career goals and find out more about opportunities within the business. Back to goal people and leaf people – networks help you build your goals. Start by having a broad understanding of the sorts of things you may wish to do. Networking will help you consolidate your ideas further but exploring the opportunities you never knew existed. It’s difficult to know what roles to target unless you know what roles are available in the wider world.

This part of the site provides a number of tools for getting a job through networking. Some people who have changed jobs (and careers) a number of times have never used a CV or gone to an interview. How do they do this? You will find on the following pages tools to help you establish who to network with, establish networking objectives, and how to communicate and open dialogue with those you should really network with. We will also provide you with our top networking skills.

If you are following the pathways, you may wish to understand how to target your network.

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