When it comes to the job search, you have one of the best tools at your disposal: your network. Networks are important to nurture because they add a human touch to the recruitment process. From my experience I would guestimate between 60-80% of hires are due to “who you know”.
A network is, technically, everyone you know. Here are some helpful hints on how to use your network to its greatest advantage:
1. Build your Network. Whatever you do, don’t forget an essential golden rule as quoted by Napoleon Hill in his essay called “The Law of Success”: “Before you can secure co-operation from others; nay, before you have the right to ask for or expect co-operation from other people, you must first show a willingness to co-operate with them. For this reason… the habit of doing more than paid for is one which should have your serious and thoughtful attention.” (p8)
The best way to build your network is to freely contribute to causes within your field. Market your strengths by positioning yourself in front of other clinical research associates who will be able to notice your skills and recommend you for career opportunities. By genuinely and selflessly giving of your time and talent you will truly impress people and will build incredible alliances with those who will help your job search endeavor. Areas to consider include social media and online discussion groups, active memberships with civic organizations or special interest clubs, and volunteering. Not only will you effectively continue to build your network but you will be able to add additional skills, experiences and accomplishments to your resume.
2. Nurture your network. This step can start at any time, but the hope is that you are building and nurturing your network before you need it. Talk to friends and colleagues with the intention of rekindling rapport. As you build new associations stay in contact with them so you create a long lasting bond. A network is all about relationships, and this takes time; however, the more people in your network feel connected to you, the more they will want to help you.
3. Tell them about your situation. Don’t just contact clinical research associates you think may be helpful in your job search, contact everyone! You don’t know who your contacts know and anyone can help generate a job lead. You can either take the direct approach by asking for their assistance, or a more indirect approach by just asking for friendly advice regarding your job search. Renew connections by picking up the phone and calling your contacts; then be sure to follow up with an email so you stay in their mind.
Most importantly, please realize business and social networking is not a quick solution to your job search challenge. This approach can take time, but by sticking to building those relationships and contacts your efforts will pay off.
Co-written by Allison Hunt and Angela Roberts
Investing in a Lifetime of Success,
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- How to Find the Right Job for You
- How to Prepare for a Successful Background Check
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