Networking to success: Key Do’s and Don’ts for finding your next job opportunity with your contacts.
“As many as 60% of jobs on the market go unadvertised” (The Guardian-Careers). Statistics such as these vary depending on the source, but the main takeaway is the high levels of success gained by using networking as a channel of referrals in your job search.
The keys to successfully leveraging this channel consist of basic communication skills and emotional intelligence, we’ve put together a simple guide line of what to do and what to avoid.
Don’t try networking sporadically and expect positive results! Consistency is key and a major part of this exercise is relationship management. It may take time for you to be in a position to ask about job leads or for your contacts to share referrals. Keep your conversations going and schedule times to follow up. Just try not to overdo this to a level of annoyance!
Don’t ask for referrals or leads without seeing how you can help the other person first. Networking is a two way street, so be prepared to see what value you can add to the conversation and other person. When they ask about you and your situation, this is the time to jump in and share what is going on with you.
Don’t reach out to everyone you have had a professional encounter with! Your contacts will have different job leads and networks to leverage, but career navigation is a sensitive topic. Those that you speak with you need to qualify as empathising with your situation. To help with this ask yourself the following 3 questions before starting the conversation;
- How does this contact feel about me professionally? What type of perception did I leave in my last interaction?
- What type of network does this contact have, will they be able to help me reach my end goals or advise me on where to concentrate my efforts?
- Most importantly; do I have something to offer them in return for their help?
Do apply the quality over quantity rule; your contacts deserve respect and attention when being engaged. Reaching out to a large pool of people may be effective to some degree, however you might struggle to manage the communication flow and quality of conversations with more people. Focus on Relationships and finding ways for you to add value to each one.
Do ask for advice and insight rather than referrals and job leads. This is emotional intelligence 101, the network of individuals that you reach out to will likely take appreciation in your asking for their ideas and opinions. With this particular approach you are treating them as a credible source of information rather than part of a transaction.
Do have fun! This exercise has the potential to make dramatic strides for your career, whether it be directly with a new opportunity or more clarity with your job search, this is a great chance to help your contacts. Existing relationships and friendships can be solidified and you might make connections that will be mutually beneficial for a long time to come!
Improve your communication skills
This approach might be unfamiliar for the majority of Hong Kongers and it can feel unsettling or daunting before you get started. Once you take action and re-iterate you will find yourself improving with large strides. Julian treasure shares valuable insight into listening skills and getting yourself started with some communication basics.