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Networking - the secret job market

The reality is that the job market has remained tough throughout 2011 and is likely to do so for some time to come; it is true however that companies are still recruiting and looking for staff. One issue is of course that if you read the latest press coverage on the issue of employment it does little to inspire confidence.

Before I became an entrepreneur I was made redundant and so I know first-hand just how difficult it can be to land your next job, but now – as a man who owns several businesses – I am approached almost daily by individuals who are looking for work. I am also often asked for advice on how to stand out from the crowd in a market where to some extent weas business owners are spoilt for choice. So what would I suggest?

Many jobs that exist don’t even reach the advertisement stage and so the key is to access the hidden or ‘secret’ job market.

One way in which people can do this is to consider attending business-networking events, which will get you in front of business owners.

A quick trawl through the search engines will show that in almost every town and city in the United Kingdom there are a range of organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce and other local business groups who meet on a regular basis. Networking has become one of the main ways in which local business people meet and expand their contacts, so why not go and try it?

Sending off cover letters and CV’s to companies is of course one way that you can make potential employers aware of your skills and experience and this is a central part of any jobseekers role; however the harsh reality of the matter is that they don’t always get read or indeed even seen by the right person.

By attending a networking meeting or getting in front of people it is far more likely that you will be able to make an impact and as a consequence they might remember you when making the next appointment!
Don’t be afraid to showcase your skills or experience at such meetings.

If you are asked to do an “Elevator Pitch” or to stand up and introduce yourself don’t be scared – just remember why you are in that room in the first place. I did exactly this a few years ago when I was seeking employment – I took a deep breath and said “good afternoon my Name is Richard Shakespeare and I am a Business Management Graduate with over five years of banking experience and customer service management, I have some copies of my CV with me if anyone is interested or thinks they might know of a business who could benefit from my skills.”

You would be amazed how many people came over to me afterwards with ideas and suggestions! Some of these people are clients of mine today! So calmly stand up and say, “Hi my name is…. And I am an experienced auto electrician with 25 years’ experience; I have previously worked on a wide range of vehicles and also have management experience. Today I am looking for opportunities within this area and would like to talk to anyone who might be able to help me.” (Obviously just tailor this introduction to your specific circumstances)

Finding out who the decision makers are within a business can also play a key part, if you’ve identified a business that you would particularly like to work for but find that either they don’t have any vacancies or anything which would be suited to your skill set don’t give up! Do some research and find out as much as you can about the company, its core values, clients and the management structure and use this to tailor your approach. If you can show you are interested and knowledgeable then it might just make your contact stand out from the dozens that may have been viewed that week.

If you know people who work for a business or within an industry that you would like to work for then ask questions and show an interest, make these people aware that you would be interested in any vacancies which might be coming up.

Ultimately what we are saying here is don’t just rely on online job engines and newspapers, pound the streets, knock on doors and get your face known.

Richard Shakespeare provides outplacement support and advice to those seeking employment through a network of specialists.

This article was taken from the Jobs&Careers website.