Over 80% of jobs come from business networking, and many of these are not officially posted or published anywhere online. Exploring the so-called “hidden job market” is critical for job seekers, and the only way to do so is by networking.
But what if you’ve never networked before or you don't know where to start? Don’t worry, Popl is here to help.
Here’s what job seekers need to know about networking.
The hidden job market
The hidden job market refers to job openings that are not publicly advertised and are instead filled through networking, personal contacts, and employee referrals.
It's difficult to determine the exact number of jobs in the hidden job market as they are not publicly advertised. However, it's estimated that millions of jobs are found through the hidden job market every year.
The importance of getting started
If you’re a job seeker the first thing you need to do is take simple steps forward. Don’t allow yourself to get buried researching resume templates, and putting together lists of where you will EVENTUALLY apply. Take small, tangible steps and make sure that you’re submitting at least a few applications per day - even just one is a positive direction.
The same goes for networking. Start small. This can mean joining an online networking group on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or, better yet, going to a nearby in-person event. Either way, business networking is something that exists in the doing, so start as small as you need to and accept that you won’t be an elite networker out-of-the-gate, that’s fine, you’ll get better with time.
Digital business cards will optimize your networking
Using a digital business card is the epitome of hybrid networking because it allows you to connect with people you meet in person with a simple tap of your phone or via scanning your personalized QR code. Then your digital business card makes it easy to follow up online.
Using a digital business card while you’re at networking events, conferences, or simply while you’re chatting with someone in line at a coffee shop is the best possible way to turn brief encounters into full-blown job offers.
A good LinkedIn profile is useful
A well designed, professional LinkedIn profile is important for job seekers because:
- It allows job seekers to showcase their professional skills, experience, and achievements to a broad audience.
- It provides access to job postings, many of which are not found on other job search sites.
- It enables job seekers to connect and network with people in their industry and potentially find job opportunities through connections.
- It provides valuable insights into companies, such as their culture, current employees, and recent job openings.
Note that you can also add your LinkedIn profile to your Popl digital business card so when you connect with someone you’re sharing all of your social and professional profiles as well as your number, email, and whatever else you include in your customizable digital business card profile.
What should job seekers do on LinkedIn?
- Build a complete and professional profile, including a strong headline and summary, relevant work experience, and a professional profile picture.
- Connect with people in their industry, including former colleagues, classmates, and people they meet at networking events.
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups to stay informed about industry news and connect with other professionals in their field.
- Participate in LinkedIn discussions and post content relevant to their industry to showcase their expertise and thought leadership.
- Endorse and ask for endorsements from their connections to strengthen their professional reputation.
- Search for and apply to relevant job postings.
- Utilize the LinkedIn messaging feature to reach out to connections for informational interviews or to inquire about job opportunities.
What should job seekers NOT do on LinkedIn?
- Having an incomplete or unprofessional profile, with incorrect information or a low-quality profile picture.
- Posting inappropriate or negative content, including political or controversial opinions.
- Sending unsolicited messages or connection requests to people they do not know.
- Over-promoting themselves or their products/services without adding value to their connections.
- Endorsing skills they have not personally witnessed in others.
- Neglecting to maintain their LinkedIn profile and connections.
- Not customizing their job application messages and using the same message for multiple job postings.
When networking, focus on the connection first
Genuine relationships are key for business networking because:
- They establish trust and credibility, which is essential for building strong professional relationships.
- They create opportunities for mutual support and collaboration.
- They provide a foundation for open and honest communication, which can lead to valuable insights and advice.
- They increase the likelihood of receiving a referral or recommendation for a job opportunity.
- They provide a sense of community and a network of individuals who can offer support, encouragement, and help in navigating career challenges.
- They can lead to long-term professional relationships that can benefit both individuals in their careers.
Give in-person networking a try
If you’re looking for a job, give in-person networking a try. There are plenty of options from giant events to small gatherings at your local chamber of commerce. Do whatever feels right to you, as long as you give it a try.
- Professional association meetings and conferences relevant to their industry.
- Career fairs and job events, including job search workshops and resume reviews.
- Networking events hosted by local businesses, universities, and professional organizations.
- Industry-specific events, such as meetups and workshops.
- Alumni events and networking opportunities through their college or university.
- Chamber of Commerce meetings and business mixers.
- Informational interviews with professionals in their desired field.
If you are uncomfortable with in-person networking or have social anxiety, here are some tips to help: Business networking when you have social anxiety.
Remember, don’t just TAKE
Giving back is important when networking because it helps build strong and meaningful relationships based on mutual support and genuine interest in others.
Job seekers are sometimes surprised at the incredible opportunities that come about as a result of getting involved in charities and local volunteer organizations. Why? Because by helping others and giving back, individuals can strengthen their professional relationships and build a supportive network that can benefit them in their career.
Want more business networking tips?
- Business networking when you have social anxiety
- New ways to build your business network
- Gen Z and the new rules of networking