Spider welcomes our guest blogger @GilesOHalloran
Part 1 of Looking for a New Role – Use your network!
And thank you to @Pathfindermag

Part 1 – Looking for a New Role… Use your Network

Networking remains fundamental to the development of communities, perhaps more so now with the advent of truly global networks. Whether in the western sense of “the old school tie”, the Chinese equivalent “guanxi” or the Middle Eastern “wasta,” it is not about what you know, but who you know, and has been a human trait for time immemorial.

Something as simple as seeking advice from a friend, getting the details of a trustworthy plumber, or asking an acquaintance about someone that might know something is networking in its simplest form. The network remains a valuable weapon in anyone’s arsenal, whether employer or potential employee.

It is often overlooked, but employers and recruiters invest in and utilise referral schemes to help source and identify candidates. Not only do these initiatives save time and recruitment costs in real terms, but people usually only refer people they trust and know are capable. This is a double win for the employer or recruiter as well as the potential employee.

So what should we think about when utilising networks?
I would argue the following:
    Remember the power of acquaintances
    Utilise personal networks
    Utilise online networks
    Develop an effective network
    Maintain your network
    Commit and share the value
The Power of Acquaintances

Despite what people believe, friends are not always the best source of opportunities. It is often the friends of friends that are the true catalysts. A recent study proved that a large number of jobs were actually found through acquaintances, rather than via friends. So don’t be scared to ask friends to ask their friend or their friend’s friend on your behalf about opportunities. It may become a simple step to securing a role or gaining valuable information about a new job.

Personal Networks

Human beings are social creatures. Whether through family, work, or socially, we interact with others. We develop relationships and this becomes the first step in developing networks. Other than the usual network of friends, family and acquaintances, there are also opportunities to be part of alumni networks, professional associations or regimental associations. These can all be very supportive and helpful when seeking out opportunities, advice and help. It is therefore important to sit down and plan who you can speak to, who can help you get access to the people you want to speak to, and invest time in planning how to do it effectively. Also, remember you can ask the friends of friends as to where they might go to seek out or hear about opportunities.

Online Networks

More and more people are using social networking sites to develop relationships and networks. If you are looking to develop productive, work related and professional networks, then I would avoid the classic, social networking sites. Although a number of employers and corporate organisations now brand and recruit via these sites, these sites are usually focused on leisure activities. There are others sites, such as LinkedIn, which are well known to be for individuals keen to secure opportunities or build productive relationships with fellow professionals. These are also frequented by specialist recruiters and search agents. So why not research these types of networks and consider which sites to profile yourself on, who you can connect with and how you can help one another.

Developing Networks

Networks do not happen overnight. Networks take time to develop and nurture in order to be productive. You need to invest time in order to develop an effective network, ensuring you can manage this and that you communicate regularly. There are online tools or forums that can help you do this, but you constantly need to develop and update  your contacts and your network. This will be a great aid to next steps, and often you will gain valuable advice from people during your time prior to leaving.

I remain a strong and committed believer in the power of the network, and if you can develop, maintain and utilise yours effectively, it will go a long way in helping you get to where you aim to be.

Giles will be posting Part 2 of Looking for a New Role… Use your Network over the coming weeks…

Giles O’Halloran is an experienced HR, Talent and Recruitment professional. He has worked for a number of respected recruitment firms (both as a recruitment consultant and in HR), but started his HR and talent career with IBM. Giles has spent over 15 years providing CV, interviewing and professional networking advice, and he is also a monthly columnist for a leading career transition publication. He is fascinated by the world of work and a passionate networker. Feel free to connect with him via Linkedin or Twitter @GilesOHalloran