In a job market with more qualified candidates than openings, you need to be smart in your job search. Networking is key to finding a job. There are many ways to network besides going to networking events that are often filled with unemployed or underemployed job seekers all looking for job leads.
As part of my continuing series on finding the hidden job market try the following tips to expand your networking search to best utilize your relationships. In all cases make sure you have an updated resume that is reflective of who you are and what skills you offer. Your resume needs to tell a story that is easily understood.
When approaching people about your availability for a job make sure you are clear about what you want to do. People are too busy these days to figure out what you want. You need to be concise. Make it easy for people to help you.
Something job seekers often forget is to renew relationships with people you once met in organizations you are were once involved with. These may be tennis clubs, golf clubs, health clubs, book clubs, Pilate's classes, or parents groups. These are people you've spoken to for years on a personal basis who may be able to help you on a professional level. Let then know you need help.
Become a leader in your industry by joining Boards and associations in your field. If you are already a member, make sure to become more involved in these groups. They are worth your time to get information, referrals and stay current on the needs in your industry. My advice would also be to get involved in a leadership role in these groups. By giving back to your community you will be respected and separate out yourself from others in your field.
Lastly, develop a relationship with a few recruiters in your industry by introducing yourself and let them know you are available for candidate referrals for jobs they may be trying to fill. Headhunters are a great source for information and connections. They are invaluable for not only job information, but also as a contact for surviving your career on a long term basis. Take them out for a cup of coffee and get to know them. They may also offer you some advice on putting together a better résumé that is reflective of your skills.
Remember that we are all busy in our lives. Make it easy for people to help you by taking the least amount of time to convey your message. But, also remember that many of these people you network with have been where you are struggling to find a new job.
Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and know with hard work, a clear mission and preservence you will find a job that will meet your financial and emotional needs.