Tip for job hunters: build your network and research who you are meeting

I thought I would share a useful tip for job hunters in the current environment. In fact, everyone should be doing this regardless of their employment status as it will give you a head-start should things change.

Use the tools available to you to build your network and to research potential employers at all stages of the recruitment process.

Sounds obvious, right?

I've been talking to recruiters and prospective employers since December 2008 when I was notified my own employment situation was going to change, and the interesting observation has been how important my network has been.

Given the pressure on companies to reduce costs, combined with the unemployment rates increasing, organisations are using recruiters a lot less than they did over the past 5 years. To compound this issue further, recruitment organisations themselves are responding to the down-turn in work and implementing redundancies themselves and loosing the connections in the marketplace that their customers value.

So what can you do?

A good start is leveraging LinkedIn. I predict that 2009 will be the year that LinkedIn really takes off as the professional version of Facebook.

LinkedIn provides you a great tool to keep connected to people as they move around as well as put your resume out there for people to search for. Even better is the recommendations aspect so your connections of connections can zoom in on you for potential opportunities. I find it more useful than Plaxo but that might be a personal view.

There are some caveats. Like Facebook, you need think carefully about what you do and say because your recommendations & comments on others will reflect on you.

Once that network is up and running, you should be using this to research people you want to (or are going to) meet. This could be for an employment opportunity or any other opportunity i.e. sales, partnering, etc. I found the connections I had to people I wanted to meet to be quite eye-opening. Being in sales, I can tell you now that having a mutual contact make introductions is a lot more effective than cold calling people. I've also leveraged my network to hear people I trust's view on an opportunity I'm investigating and then sharpening up my questions in an interview.

For some great additional reading on this topic, checkout the articles below:

Obviously you don't need to stop at one tool to do this as I mentioned previously in Googling people before you meet them - use everything at your disposal to win!

Once you've used these tools to research going into a meeting, you can use the tips from the article What Job Seekers Can Learn from Sales Professionals to land your new role. There are some great points including:

"For job seekers new to networking, it can be a daunting challenge. Yet, there are quite a few lessons that the job seeker can take from the sales profession. However, I believe that one stands out as most important: Don’t look for a job…search for a need."

Image by Marcelo Gonzalez


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:52 AM,


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