Most jobs, about 80%, are in the “hidden” job market, obtained through personal contacts and referrals. It is important that everyone you know be aware that you are looking for a job so that the “word of mouth” process can begin to work on your behalf. Following the networking diamond below, your networking process should include the people that are closest to you, your friends and family. It is unlikely that you will find a job if you limit yourself to this small group but each friend and family member can bring in more contacts to your networking circle.
The next step in building a job search network is to widen your search by contacting acquaintances, colleagues, and others such as friends of friends who may have job information to share in your desired profession and/or industry. You can also meet people in this group by attending professional and industry related meetings and events, as well as community events or social occasions. This group may be able to direct you to the next category of contacts, people with the authority to hire you.
The third step is to narrow your search by contacting people who have the authority to hire event managers at particular organization. This can be done through contacts obtained through the process of informational interviewing.
Lastly, the top of the diamond contains those hiring authorities that can be selecting you for a specific job at an organization.
The Networking Diamond
The Art of Networking
- Target Your Search
Before you start your job search process, do some research on the market. Choose at least two career targets that are realistic for your level of experience and qualifications. DO NOT communicate that you will accept “any job”. If you reach a dead end with a target, you can always broaden or reformulate your job search target.
- Look Everywhere
Once you have job search targets, attend as many meetings, seminars, and events as possible in your chosen target areas. Choose class research projects in your chosen target areas. Look in the library and on the World Wide Web for magazines, journals, and databases with information, especially specific company and contact information in your chosen target areas.
- Talk to Everyone
Tell everyone you know that you are looking for opportunities in your target areas. Faculty, SBPM alumni, alumni from your undergraduate institution, and fellow students are often good sources of job leads and industry information. They may not have direct knowledge of a target area, but know a colleague or acquaintance who does!
- Keep a Notebook
It is easy to forget information that you received at the beginning of your program by the time you are ready to look for a job. Keep aside a job search notebook with all leads, contacts, and pertinent information on industries, companies, and general market trends. Write notes on the back of business cards you receive to remember what you discussed with that particular individual.
- Create Your Own Business Cards
Create a card with your expected degree program and date of graduation. Check with your program director to see if you can get permission to put the GW logo on your card.
- Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up
The key to successful job search is persistence. Try to keep in touch with contacts that you have met during your graduate education. Send your resume with a friendly note and a case study you may have presented on a company in their industry. Situations change and jobs may open up within their organization or they may hear of an opportunity through a colleague. Even if you are not selected for a position, another opportunity may open up within that organization!