Networking: You have more connections than you think!

By Andrew Stott

Those of you early in your career may think you have no “network” but you will be surprised once you register in Linkedin as to how many people you can reach through your own friends and family. This is really important when it comes to securing “informational interviews” about sectors, employers and jobs you are interested in. 

Many people I talk to in their early twenties are sceptical about opportunities for networking, but not only is there a real need to do it in today’s competitive job market, but there are more opportunities than you think.

Linkedin now prompts you to  map your network through your email address list, your college and any work opportunities you may have had during your student days. This means that you may well have access to employers and sectors in which you are interested through introductions from your immediate contact circle.

So what do you do with your network? Using your network to get informational interviews means letting your friends, family or other contacts know you are interested in sector X or employer Y and seeing who they in turn know. Networking does NOT mean asking someone to use their influence to get you a job (although that still goes on in certain countries), and as long as you stay on the topic of learning more about the employer, industry and the selection process, you will gather lots of valuable information to help you compete effectively against other candidates.

You may be surprised how many people who you don’t even know directly are willing and indeed interested in helping you to do your homework in preparation for your next job. They have all “been there” and they know how different and competitive selection processes are and also remember what it was like to not really know very much about what employer or job they were joining until they had started the job.

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