Why Your Network Could Be the First Place for You to Look for Jobs

The people who know your work best are your colleagues and business network — so consider them first when searching for a new job.

A survey conducted by Workforce Singapore in October 2017 revealed networking to be one of the most effective methods of job search, with nearly 32 percent of respondents having found their last job through networking or word of mouth. This was more than twice the 12 percent of respondents who secured their last job through a recruiter. Here are three reasons why networking could help ease your job search.

1. It’s the Way to Find “Hidden Jobs”

A huge number of jobs are in the “hidden jobs” market — that is, they are not advertised . The president of one US career consultancy puts this figure at between 70 to 80 percent of available jobs. These are positions where staff members are promoted internally, freelancers are offered permanent contracts or somebody has a contact that would fit the bill.

2. It Reduces the Six Degrees of Separation from Your Future Employer

Singapore is the third most connected country in the world on LinkedIn which only makes the case for networking stronger for local jobseekers. Even if you are not on the platform, its rising popularity among professional jobseekers means that some of your friends or acquaintances could be on this platform, with their own connections to tap into for your job search needs. It reflects well on your contacts too, if they can help fill a vacant position. In fact, some companies may even have an employee referral programme, which could help your contact win a monetary reward if they can fill a vacant position.

If you prefer face-to-face communication, you can find a number of networking events, career fairs and workshops aimed at professionals from various industries as well as casual Meetup groups catering to specific interests.

3. It Helps Secure Recommendations and Testimonials

Don’t just wait for a job to be advertised before contacting a company you would like to work for. The relatively small Singapore job market means that networking and taking the initiative can more easily deliver results.

Reconnect with your ex-colleagues, especially those with whom you worked with very closely, and with whom you are comfortable sharing your job search challenges, and ask them if they could provide a recommendation or testimonial about their experience working with you. This could be either as a recommendation letter, via a LinkedIn endorsement or even by asking them for their contact details to include as a reference in your job applications.

Think about how you can make the whole process convenient for them and what you can give in return. Start by complimenting them on the working relationship you had. You could then provide a sample of the recommendation specifying your competencies, transferrable skills and your experience working together and ask if they can write something similar or add on to it. Lastly, offer to write a recommendation in return so it becomes a mutually helpful process.

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