By Sunny Simon

     It happened again. As my new client bemoaned her state of unemployment, I heard what was starting to sound like a familiar refrain. Elaine stated in the past she got calls on her resume, now it seems like her documents end up in a big black hole.

     A current professional market-ready resume is necessary for on or offline applications, but I think I’ve cracked the code on Elaine’s dilemma. Job seekers are spending far too much time behind the screen. Search engines like Indeed.com, CareerBuilder and Glassdoor are helpful in uncovering job openings, these sites are a viable tools that provide a look into the Visible Job Market. The truth is, only 20% of available jobs are posted on such websites.    

     Job seekers are better served shifting a large part of their focus to the Hidden Job Market where the other 80% of jobs are found. How do you gain access to this abundance of exciting opportunities? Get out from behind your computer and network, network, network!  Many candidates find their search is most successful when they network with former work colleagues, contacts at partner companies, former clients and their personal contacts.

     Networking is the key to finding a job before it is posted and becomes public knowledge. Fewer candidates are aware of these positions narrowing the stack of competing resumes on a recruiter’s desk. When you network, you can place yourself near the top of the interview list. 

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     Ready to get networking? Start with who you know. Use your list of contacts when looking for a position. These friends and colleagues may be able to offer up job leads, advice and information about a particular company or industry, and also introduce you to others to expand your network.

     Prepare a snappy elevator speech and attend career fairs and job networking events. Strike up a conversation everywhere with anyone, at Starbucks, on a plane, at church and the gym. Use social media to network, sharpen up your LinkedIn profile, let your Facebook audience know you’re positioned a new opportunity. Most importantly add value in a networking exchange and you will be memorable and worthy of the assistance of others. Share your expertise and be a bridge builder, connect people.

     I urged Elaine to join a professional organization for finance professionals. She attended the meeting armed with business cards and resumes, offered to work on a committee to support an event, and is now scheduling a coffee date with a member looking for a staff accountant. You see, networking works! Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com

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