Finding work through job advertisements can be effective but limited, as many jobs are not advertised. A lot of people find out about job opportunities by approaching and speaking to family members, friends, and acquaintances.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
Understand what you’re looking for
Start by having a clear understanding of the type of opportunity you’re looking for. Is it part-time paid work in the holidays? A job in a specific industry? An internship? A volunteer opportunity? The first question a potential contact will ask you is what it is you’re looking for, so make sure you’re prepared.
Create a list of people you know
List all the people you currently know in all the different areas of your life such as:
Is there anyone else you can think of who might be a good person to chat to about career options? Do any of your friends have parents in jobs or industries you’re interested in?
Write down some questions or discussion points
Before contacting prospective employers, it can help to write down the questions you may like to ask them. This can help you drive the conversation, maintain confidence, and help you remember the topics that you’d like to discuss during the interaction.
Questions you can ask include:
- asking about their own career journey
- asking them about the key skills and experience people need to succeed in that field
- what types of roles or organisations you could look into.
All of this shows you’re interested and that you are keen to learn more.
They may ask you questions about yourself too, so be prepared and think about some things you might like to share about previous job experience.
Let people know you're looking
The thought of reaching out to people you don’t know and asking them for something in return can be daunting but give it a go. You will be surprised by how open and willing people are to help, and everyone knows what it’s like to start out.
Tell them the type of work you want to do, what industry, or even a specific company if you have selected one. Ask them if they know anyone in these areas and if they would be prepared to introduce you. You may be pleasantly surprised when you get a call from someone whose uncle is the manager of your target company!
Search your online networks
Think about your online social network – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, consider starting one to grow your network. If you explore your connections on these sites, you can often find they have connections that can be helpful to you.
The best way to make use of these connections is to contact them directly. Tell them what you’re doing, and explain you noticed they listed a certain person or company among their connections, and that you would very much appreciate an introduction.
Remember, it’s OK to reach out for support from others. A lot of people got to where they are in their careers through opportunities that were provided by others. Just remember to be respectful of people’s time and appreciative of their support - you never know when your professional paths will cross again.
Online Networking Group Chat Transcript
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Last reviewed 18 May 2021.