“Okay, I’ve been job searching for a while. I’m a professional with a good work history and great references. Why can’t I find a job?”

Boy, if I had a dollar for every time I heard this. Why is it so difficult to find a job these days? The average person spends six to nine months job searching. Most of us instinctively are doing things incorrectly. We wake up in the morning, get caffeine into us, and settle onto the computer, we check out the numerous websites we have tagged as our favourites or find new ones by luck or through friends or resources. I agree, websites are important and one can gain valuable labour market information from them, and we can possibly find our ideal postings. However; depending on the statistics you wish to believe, online job ads generate a 2% up to a maximum ofn 10% success rate for finding employment. Advertised postings only account for 20% of the market. So… if you are only accessing advertised positions; you are hitting 20% of the market, and it’s the same 20% that the majority of other jobseekers are targeting. Dr. Phil says ‘How’s that working for you?” If it isn’t, you have to get out of your comfort zone and do things differently in order to change your results. Namely, network!!!

Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work. How many people can you name off the top of your head in less than 15 minutes?

Here’s an easy exercise to help to come up with a list of at least 100 people you know (they don’t necessarily have to know your name, just recognize your face!). Pull out a piece of paper to get started or if you prefer, open a Word document.

List the following:

  • All of your family members that are 20-65 years of age. Remember cousins and spouses, exes…
  • Your friends and their spouses/partners
  • Your acquaintances (you know…friends of friends, neighbours…even people your significant other knows)
  • Professionals you use (doctors, dentist, financial planner, banker, accountant, hairstylist/barber, decorator, painter, cleaner, and anyone else that fits this category)
  • Getting vaguer, but those who recognize you in public (staff at the grocery store, your favourite restaurants and coffee places, any recreational league or social group you are involved with, etc.)
  • The people you know through your children (this will usually be a big section)

So, did you hit 100 yet? Most people are surprised with their magic number. Now, be sure to tell everyone on that list that you are looking, and be specific as to what you do – update them if you have taken any recent training – give them some job titles you are interested in so they have a better picture or idea. Be open to leads you had not previously considered. 100 people can now be looking on your behalf; this is the power of networking especially if they mention it to others. The best advice I can give you is this: Don’t predict who can help you, and don’t predict where you are going to end up. When we predict, we diminish our opportunities.

Good luck, and stay tuned for more Networking tips.

By Caroline Smaglinskie, Employment Counsellor and first time Blogger for Agilec.

For more information, you can always contact the Agilec location nearest you. 

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