Life Skills: How to Find A Job By Building Relationships

Oct 14, 2013 | 5:00 am
Work Skills
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More than likely, one of your reasons for wanting to improve your education is to increase your career opportunities. Once you have your diploma, you can use it to pursue higher education and better jobs. While your education and specialized skills are an essential part of getting the job you want, so is who you know. Knowing the right people can help open doors to new possibilities. It’s just a matter of learning how to build and grow your own personal network.

Did you know a good chunk of jobs are actually never even advertised? These positions are usually filled by word of mouth. However, many people miss out on these opportunities because they are unaware of how to build a network. The good news is that networking is really just a matter of being willing to talk to everyone you meet.

This may feel out of the norm for you, however, consider this…

People like to work with people they know and like. If you’ve spent time getting to know someone, and they know you’re looking for work, you’ll likely be at the forefront of their mind when a new position opens up.

Hundreds of people may apply for a position. That’s a lot of people to try and stand out from. If you are networking, you may not ever need to apply for a position – and if you do, you will typically be a “favored” applicant.

So, while networking may feel uncomfortable at first, the rewards are well worth climbing a little out of your comfort zone. Now, how to get started:

#1 – Make A List
Luckily, you know more people than you think you do. Take some time and write down every single person that you know, even casual acquaintances like your landlord, gym coach, etc.

#2 – Figure Out What You Want
Before you start talking to people about job opportunities, you need to figure out exactly what it is that you want first. You don’t want to just ask for a job, since it’s too generic and people may not be able to see how they can help you. However, if you are interested in clerical work, you can specifically if they know of any openings in that area. The more clear you are about what you want, the better people can help you.

#3 – Reach Out
With your clear idea of what you are desiring for, it’s time to reach out to your network. The first people to start with are the people who are know you best and/or are willing to give you references. Talk to them about what it is your are looking for and your overall goals are. Then, work down your list with the next group of people that know you best and so on.

#4 – Make The Connection Count
When you are reaching out to your network, you have to make the connection count. That means you can’t just ask for a job. That puts too much pressure on someone. Instead, let them know you are looking for work in a specific field and if they have any information or insight that might be helpful for you. This creates a win/win for you both. One, you haven’t put them in a uncomfortable position if they don’t know or have any job openings. And, two, you don’t have to feel awkward about asking straight for a job.

However, when if someone does have an opportunity, make sure you follow through. Be ready with resumes to provide if necessary. If they know of an opening, get all the information you’ll need to be able to apply. Do you need an interview? Do you need to fill out an application?

#5 – Make Time To Maintain
Like anything, your network needs frequent attention. Make time every week to include new people you’ve met and to talk with old contacts. Use the time not just to ask for something, but to really build a relationship. Get to know the people you are most interested in and use those connections to help expand your network even further.