Your career questions answered!

July 5, 2005

Your career questions answered!

Question: As you are probably aware, one of the big buzzwords in finding jobs, especially professional jobs requiring rare skills, is “networking”. To get to that 80% of hidden employment, you have to Network – that is to say, open conversations with total strangers with whom you have nothing in common to find out if they know anyone who is hiring. To put it politely, I find this kind of hustling pretty repulsive. Not only am I naturally very shy, but I’m pretty comfortable with having a tiny social life… and I’m NOT comfortable with using people to “generate leads”. If I wanted to be a salesperson, I would have done so years ago.
Is there any way to uncover the hidden job market without blatantly using total strangers? I’m probably shyer than most, but I can’t be the only person who really doesn’t like preying on people.
Regards, Barbara

Answer: Hi Barbara,
It is true that 80% of jobs are never advertised. That means there are whole lot of opportunities that you could be missing out on if you don?t tap into that market. That said, tapping into the hidden job market is not about tackling people in the street, forcing a business card at them and begging for a job. It is simply about letting the right people know who you are, what you do and how amazing you are. As a shy Career Coach I can tell you the fastest way to overcome shyness is to forget about you and focus on the other person. Next time you find yourself at a networking function and talking to a total stranger just try to forget about yourself and focus on the other person. Start by asking them what they do in their job. Then ask as many more specific questions as you can think of and show your interest in their answers. The natural progression of the conversation will lead them to ask about you. By the time this happens you have already made a good impression by being polite, professional and interested. When they ask you questions, just answer, don?t feel silly or that you are you using them. What you are doing is quite simply being polite and answering their questions just as you should. If it leads to a hot career opportunity, well that?s fantastic!

Question: I’m looking around for a new job, I’m not fitting in where I am at the moment and not enjoying what I’m doing which I know my boss has picked up. Is it best to let my current employer know I’m looking or pretend it’s all okay? I know I will continue to do my best in this role until I leave and I’d like to think my boss would beklieve the same of me but can’t be abslolutely sure. Your thoughts?

Answer: Hi Kate,
Telling your boss that you are planning to leave would be very risky, it could put them off side and may even result in you being pressured to leave before you are ready. The best thing is to continue to work hard so that your boss will give you a great reference when you need it. Set time aside each evening or on weekends to search for jobs on the internet, in newspapers and through networking. Try to do interviews before of after work so that they do not impact on work time. Because you have a job you can afford to be fussy so that your next job is just perfect!

Got a career question? We know that careers can be challenging and for that reason we have enlisted the help of CareersCoach Lisa O?Brien. Lisa will answer any Career Questions that you have. She has told us that no question is to big, to small or too silly. Email Lisa

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