Friday, 18 January 2013

Getting a Job through Networking

We're all familiar with the old saying that goes hand-in-hand during a job search and many other career related occasions - "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Unfortunately, finding the who you knows can often be a frustrating experience. If you're not working in the first place, then finding people to network with can prove challenging.


The image above perfectly illustrates what many job seekers (particularly new graduates) feel like they're going through. I've been there too! And there is hardly ever any worse feeling as the bitter disappointment associated with sending out job application after job application and never hearing anything back.

Even worse; you go to networking events and career fairs and find the rooms crowded with tons of other job seekers looking for the exact same thing as you. How do you make yourself stand out in a situation like that? In most cases, you can't. And believe you-me, it's a numbers game.

Here's a question.

Would you like to be the sole job seeker (or one of a few) in a room, surrounded by people who have the authority to hire, and are coming to talk to you rather than you going to talk to them?

Wow, that kind of sounds... too good to be true, doesn't it? And even better news - it's not.

Now, I'm going to tell you exactly how you can put yourself in this position.

  1. Open up another tab and type the following into Google (without quotes): "training seminars toronto" (or whatever city you live in).
  2. Look at what comes up and see if there are any training seminars related to your field and if not then revise the search to include keywords related to your career path. Particularly you want to look for events that small business owners are likely to attend.
  3. Find one you like and check out their volunteer page and/or contact the company and ask about becoming a volunteer at their event.
Here's why you want to do this. Because when you are volunteering at an event, you are demonstrating that you have commitment, a skill-set and are willing and able to put time in to improve yourself and others. The advantage of doing this is that you are putting yourself in a position where everyone in attendance is going to see that you have value. 

And guess what? On breaks, lunches and other time-outs you are going to have a chance to talk with them. And you certainly will not have the competition of other job seekers competing against you. It's very likely they will ask you about what you are doing career wise. Don't have a job? Well you certainly seem like someone with a good skill set to them. Who knows? Maybe the company or event you are volunteering for will even want to hire you if you do a good job.

Just one more piece of advice - look for companies that run smaller training seminars or only allow a certain number of people to attend. If you volunteer at an event with 500 people then there are likely to be more volunteers and less meaningful tasks such as running a coat check. If you attend something with only 30 people, you will likely have more involvement and more face time with the same set of people that will recognize you.

Good luck and let me know your thoughts on this strategy.


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