|It is well known that a majority of career openings are never openly advertised or promoted externally - the “hidden job market” as it is known requires everyone to now be effective networker’s. There is little doubt that there is a positive relationship between a large career network and the amount of opportunities you’ll have for hearing about the latest’s news and job offerings. So how do we manage and build this network?
Social networking is becoming an increasingly important part of growing a network. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to stay in touch and to join groups and pages that are of interest to them, creating online communities where individuals can have a virtual ‘meeting of minds’ LinkedIn is also a fantastic networking tool, allowing you to upload your online CV, join professional groups that keep you informed with all the latest news and discussion and it also allows you to stay in touch with your associates careers, as well as having a full list of jobs that you can apply too. For those wishing to expand their network, Redbrick advises that you make full use of the opportunities social networking sites provide. The development of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook has meant organising your network is now a relatively simple process, growing a network should involve a certain element of goal setting e.g.) this month I will make ten new contacts and will get in touch with 20 people in my existing network. Additionally, joining societies and clubs outside of the online realm can help you grow your network, allowing you to meet similarly minded people who you have a shared common interest.
Networking is about growing and maintaining your network. It is important to place particularly emphasis on the maintenance aspect here, keeping in contact with people is just as important as adding new contacts to your network. Intelligent networker’s’ are those who ‘touch base’ with people in their network on a fairly regularly basis. Remember, don’t only use networking when you are looking for a new job and bear in mind it is a reciprocal process, you should always look to return the favour to someone who has helped you in the past. Christmas cards are a great way to keep in contact, whether it is to a friend, a colleague or a professional contact, sending a card with a personal message lets them know that you are still thinking of them. Remember, never take your network for granted. Unlocking the hidden job market is one of the most important skills graduates need in today’s competitive market. First impressions need to be positive, follow up contact needs to be sooner rather than later. Graduates should consider themselves as ‘walking CV’s’ - always display the qualities to those in your network that you would want to show on your CV.
The new online forums and discussion polls coming soon to Redbrick will help you develop your own networks through our site. Remember, Redbrick is about self help, innovation and inspiration. You as graduates will drive the site so stay tuned and get involved!