Reports have shown that a decent proportion of jobs are found through friends. It is easier to find jobs through friends than at random, because friends know you, trust you and are aware of what you are capable of. In many cases, if a friend recommends you, you come with a stamp of approval which gives you a foot in the door, to at least get an interview. However, you may not have friends in your field, making it trickier for you. You may be asking yourself how you will find a job in your field without friends. Below follows a description of ways to overcome this hurdle.
If you do not have friends in your field then networking is a skill that you should strongly consider developing. Networking is by far one of the most effective ways of making contacts in any given field. To network, there are six important groups of people that you need to target:
Current/Former Colleagues – while they may not be friends, your current and former colleagues are the best starting point. They may know people who are hiring, or they themselves may move into a position where they need to hire.
Alumni – contacts from school, college or university may also not have been friends, but are good contacts to talk with in your job search. Any one of them may be in your field, and may have or know of opportunities. You don’t know until you ask.
Family – while your direct family may not be able to help you, each member of your family has friends and contacts. Your family will usually be delighted to help you in your search, and will usually be able to put out a very good word for you.
Associates at clubs/organizations – though perhaps not friends, these folks may know contacts that they can send your way. It is worth putting the word out at any clubs or organizations of which you are a part of.
Professional organizations – try contacting professional organizations related to your field, these are excellent points of contact for finding good people to talk to. This is especially true because they are in the same field as you. They may know who is hiring and have contacts to pass your way.
Friends – while your direct friends may not be in your field, their other friends might be. It is worth talking to your friends to see if they know of anyone who may be able to help you. Friends of friends are frequently people that you will get along well with and connect with easily. If you can find them, these contacts will be a great information source.
Effective face-to-face networking to find good contacts can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door and secure an interview. However, there are also other ways. One important method that should not be overlooked is social networking. These days, social networking sites can hold the key to finding a new job. Forbes quotes figures raised by career coach Julie Jansen who stated that:
85% of hiring managers use social networking sites like LinkedIn to look for potential candidates who’ve been referred by other professionals.
This is a huge number, so it is worth getting your details up on LinkedIn. You can add your resume, responsibilities, get recommendations from former colleagues, contribute to forums and even find jobs on this professional social networking website. Importantly, it also has a functionality that you can use to get connected to other contacts of your contacts. This is a very useful networking tool to use to find contacts in your field.
Aside from LinkedIn, you can also find contacts on Facebook, Twitter and other such websites. While primarily used for “friends” these sites are also extremely good for finding professional contacts and others in your field. Keep an eye on the statuses of others on such websites. One hiring manager reported that,
“I put on my Facebook status that we were looking for a new writer. Within a few hours, I had several high quality applications in my inbox!”
This clearly demonstrates the power and importance of social networking websites as a tool for finding a new job.
Finally, volunteering can be an excellent approach for making new contacts in your field. You can volunteer in an area that is of interest to you, and use this time to build up new skills and also to find new contacts. In addition, the organization that you are volunteering for will likely be very appreciative of your efforts, and you’ll be adding to your resume at the same time.
Paula Newton has been working for herself for many years. When not working on her own freelance projects she assists others in getting their work-from-home careers off the ground. She has recently joined the ResumeBucket marketing and outreach team. Her latest project is curating the huge number of sample resumes at ResumeBucket.