Networking & personal connections is the best way of finding a flexible job..we look at how to get started. The hardest part is starting.

 

– Good afternoon. Justin O’Keeffe from Talent Force Recruitment. Continue our mission to help people who are looking for family-friendly or flexible jobs. Really looking to balance personal lives with exciting professional careers.

Today we’re gonna talk about networking. The first question is why is networking important to a job-seeker? In particular if somebody is looking for a more flexible professional role. Networking is the number one way that job-seekers find roles. It’s much more important than applying online or sending letters. Networking, going, talking to people, building personal connections, trust, reciprocity. That is a tremendous tool for getting back into the workforce or finding that role that works for you. We would say there’s a couple of different ways of thinking about it. Maybe to make it a bit more manageable, to make it a bit more approachable. One is to start thinking about both old and new contacts. Start thinking about short-term versus long-term connections.

Before you start, it’s often worth thinking about what is networking? What is it not? At the end of the day, no one likes to feel used. It’s not about walking into a room, doing a 30-second elevator pitch, speed, handing a business card. It’s very much about reciprocity, building trust, meeting people over and over again, mutual respect. That’s really, really key, that starting part. Many folks we would talk to would say, “I haven’t worked in three or four years. “I’m really not sure where to start.” Often when we get talking to people, this comes back to what you have to offer or what can you bring to a networking event. We start talking to people and they say, “Well, I’m a scout leader. “I’m on the school board. “I’ve done fundraising. “I’ve helped a local group in digital marketing. “Oh, by the way, I helped my brother start his business “or sister.” So if you’re a driven professional looking to get back to work after a break or looking to maybe change career, it’s unlikely that you’ve taken a complete pause. It’s really quite surprising. It’s a detail that isn’t on the CV. It’s you and your story.

We would suggest that there are perhaps three different ways of thinking about networking. They require extremely different approaches. The purpose here is to break this into manageable chunks. One is to look backwards to the past. Think about who are the people that I spent years, decades, thousands of working hours building professional workroom relationships. These are people from college. These are people from past jobs, clients, bosses, vendors. Perhaps it’s even people that you hired into jobs. Really what you’re doing here is you’re resuscitating these professional connections. What’s interesting, I was reading an article about this recently, is when you look back to your connections from the past, the you that these people remember is the you that they last met, five, ten, fifteen, twenty years ago.

I was at a college reunion during the summer and it’s amazing how little people had changed. This is really interesting. You’re really frozen in time for this group. Just looking backwards, where would you find them? Linked In is really good. There could be some sort of alumni groups. Just talking to people, using emails. Just see where it goes. The next thing is to look at the present. Looking around, who are the family, friends, the neighbors, church volunteers, scout leader groups? Simply maybe have a discussion with these to say, “I’m thinking of looking for this sort of role. “It’s perhaps your industry. “Could you spare a few minutes to talk?” Really you’re not looking for their connections. You’re looking for their insights, their guidance, where they know there might be opportunities. You’re not asking them for a job. You’re looking for guidance. You’re looking for … If these are good connections, then all you’re doing is asking for their time, looking for the insights. So who around me could give me guidance or suggestions? If you ask for a job, the shutters immediately go up.

The next thing we’re thinking about is the future. Starting to build a network that could work for you. New connections out in the long term. The past is very much about old connections. Perhaps long term. Present is about somewhere between new and old. Short and long-term, the future. Who the networks, who are the people you can connect with who could start to give you some guidance, start to give you some advice? Is there some career relaunch groups, skills net, joining springboard plus classes? Is there a mentor you could get who could help you get back on track? What is the network that you’d like to build for the future as you look to relaunch your career?

 

That’s our thinking on networking. It’s daunting, it’s hard. Perhaps breaking it down into looking at old verusus new, looking backwards, looking at the present, and looking to build a network for the future. We hope this is useful to you.

 

Please send us any comments on Facebook or you can email just at talentforce.ie or just give us a call 01 9081514. We’re always looking to speak to companies who are after great, flexible, professional candidates or candidates who are looking to relaunch or to pick up their careers. Thanks a lot. Take care, bye bye.

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