Develop your networking skills

By WorkBC

Statistics show that 80% of job vacancies are not advertised. In some regions, that percentage is higher. Networking is a vital way to identify work opportunities and connect with potential employers in the “hidden” job market.

Your current social circle, both online and offline, is a good place to start to expand your network of acquaintances, but you’ll find other excellent networking opportunities listed below. Whatever networking strategies you employ, expanding your network will expand your prospects.

Networking for career development

Volunteer — This is a fine method for broadening your network and allowing prospective employers to discover your abilities. You can gain experience, make connections, demonstrate your skills and get noticed. Volunteering provides an opportunity for word to spread about your talents and availability. And sometimes paid employment grows directly out of volunteer activities.

Join a job club — For those who are eligible, job clubs have many advantages: you quickly find out you are not alone, discover which job-search methods that are working for people, and gain a built-in network of people who know people. Someone in the job club may have a friend or relative looking for a landscaper, which may be your job target. You never know when an opportunity could present itself.

Find groups in your area(s) of interest — Join a new group to build your network. If you like computers and are passionate about programming, find a programming user group. Such groups allow you to build lasting, mutually helpful professional relationships. As you become connected, you’ll likely discover career opportunities.

If you don’t know how to find a group, you can use a search engine like Google or Meetup to find groups in your field and community. For example, search “Programming user group Penticton.”

Tell community groups you are a part of — Organizations you are already part of may have many members, some of whom already know you well. Talk to them about your career or job-search goals. If people don’t know that you’re looking for work, then they can’t share any opportunities with you.

Social media networking — These days, social media is an excellent method for connecting with employers and job opportunities. Find out more about using social media in your job search below.

Attend job fairs — Job fairs are another great opportunity to connect with people: employers who are seeking workers, employment service providers and other job seekers. Even if a company isn’t looking for someone with your background, they may know of someone else who is. They may be happy to pass on your resume or keep it for their own future needs. Be proactive and do some homework on the companies you plan to approach at the job fair (participating companies are usually listed in advance event notices). Your obvious interest and preparation will increase your chances of winning an interview.

When networking, always thank the people who have given you advice or contacts by emailing or mailing them a thank-you note. Networking is all about building relationships. Showing that you appreciate the time of a person who helps you is your investment in a relationship that may ultimately benefit both of you.

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