Using Networking for Employment
Recently, employment has changed and it’s now safer to be an entrepreneur, than an employee. This observation is made by Taylor Pearson in his book ‘The End of Jobs.’ Employment is now shorter term, and less secure.
So whether you want a job, or to be an entrepreneur – the safest situation is one where you have a massive network of switched on people that will advocate for you. To give that backing – let’s take a look at how jobs are found and what a network brings to employment.
How are most jobs found?
You’ve probably heard countless stories about positions being filled not as a result of raw talent, but instead based of somebody knowing somebody. It’s easy to look at this and say ‘that’s not a fair way to find a job.’ But can you blame the employer?
In Australia, we now have:
320,000 graduates per year
2,000 graduate jobs at a time, advertised on Seek employment website
Graduates report applying for an eye-watering 20, or even 50 jobs when they finish their degree.
So poor old Amanda in HR is often faced with 100’s or 1000’s of applicants for a job. Yet it’s estimated that over 85% of jobs are filled through networking?
So what are the employers doing? Cutting the pile in half, and throwing the other half it in the bin?
Employers know that the primary issue when hiring for most jobs, isn’t raw talent. It’s TRUST. You can teach people skills on the job, but trust? That’s another thing all together. So if they have to choose between hiring help for HR to go through 1000 applicants, or take on a highly recommended candidate from someone they already trust very well – what do you think they should pick? The truth is, ‘knowing someone’ is not just great for job seekers, it’s great for employers too. Employers are right to pick candidates based on trust, and more often than not (an estimated 85% of the time) they do.
So doesn’t it make sense, that the most efficient way to find trusted employees, and to find trust-able/friendly workplaces – is to have lots of know, like and trust relationships with people in your field of interest?
In one of the networking events we advocate for, there’s a great story one young professional has of ‘having a full-time job applying for full-time jobs’ before discovering a network that advocated for him & his talents – which scored him a dream role. Check out his story here.
Making yourself valuable as an employee
Wise business owners will listen to entrepreneurial staff. They want the ideas that come from the ‘workshop floor’ and if you can figure out a way to bring them more work/profit, well, why wouldn’t they love you?
An example might be, starting a complimentary business to the one you are working for. Let’s say, starting a Marketing business while working at an accounting firm. The Accounting firm can offer Marketing to their clients (and look like great connectors) while the employee can earn an income on the side, and pass an additional revenue stream back to the employer.
But how would you start such a business? You would need contacts, suppliers, advice, and not to mention – more clients than the Accounting firm could offer. That is where networking for a job comes in to play. You have an army of resource, at the ready, for opportunities that may arise. Employers will be blown away by this and wonder why other employees aren’t delivering the same. The reason, of course, is that you have built a network, which allowed you to build a business and deliver more value to your employer. This goes back to the case study mentioned earlier from someone we directed to a networking event, and is essentially exactly the process they went through.
But it doesn’t just have to be that method. You can use Networking Groups for Employment in other ways.
What if you are able to increase your ability to public speak by attending weekly networking events. Soon enough – you will be delivering the staff training, and others will look up to you.
What if you could introduce new clients to your employer? That is one of the easiest ways to justify a promotion/pay raise.
How about introducing cheaper, and better, suppliers to the business? You get kudos from both sides! The employer gets better value, and your networking contact gets more business. Ultimately – you get held in a higher regard all around. You could even earn referral fees this way. What if those referral fees had trailing commissions? You would be on your way to financial fredom. Ultimately, if you build a network of people who you trust and who trust you, the possibilities are endless. Start a business, change jobs, refer clients – whatever it is – you will have an ARMY of advocates and endless possibilities.
How about a ‘side gig’?
What’s that I hear? “I want to network to build my own business!”
How good would that be?
The traditional way to start a ‘side gig’ or your own business, is to take a loan out, buy equipment and find clients before you run out of cash. But it really doesn’t need to be that risky… anymore.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to do something like, say, form a JV with your employer? Take the example of a stock broking firm. There’s those that work there doing non-broker roles and are quite happy. Then there’s those who say “what if I could bring clients in and share in the commission on their trades?” That’s the entrepreneurial spirit.
So for those who think differently, and say ‘why not form a Joint Venture with my employer?’ – there’s a world of opportunity. What a good business to have? You’re bringing in clients, being a rainmaker, earning ongoing commissions, not having to manage staff/payroll/offices/equipment and have UNLIMITED earning potential. Plus – you look great to your employer!
Now seriously, is that not a better ‘side gig’ option than taking a risky loan and investing in a physical business? Investing hours and hours outside work to build something from scratch? The thing is, the aforementioned method not possible without a strong network. You can’t ‘advertise’ things like a relationship with a stock brokerage firm and expect to get good clients. You MUST put the relationship first.
But there are so many other examples of businesses you can build as a side gig when you have a network. With the opportunities that are online nowadays – you have access to digital resources (virtual assistants, graphic designers, onle content researchers etc.) you can build a business in less time. But they key to a ‘side-gig’ being successful is actually winning clients. That’s expensive if you advertise, and inexpensive/free if you have a strong network.
Multiple gigs instead of full-time employment?
There’s a lot of talk about the ‘gig-economy’ – but be careful who you listen to! It’s easy to get swept up in thinking that having ‘multiple gigs’ is the best way to go. However, your gigs should always be purposeful.
Purposeful, means bootstrapping yourself with a range of skills that will assist you in moving to a field of work that you are interested in. Avoid simply doing a few gigs for the sake of doing a few things.
But it’s easier said than done. While you can now get gigs in industries outside tech and creative (eg. sales, architecture, construction) – how do you find those opportunities? Oh and ps – don’t limit yourself to ridesharing and food delivery gigs – while great to provide cash they’re not often a career that advances you toward a new skillset.
The answer to finding the right opportunities for ‘multiple gigs’ is to be introduced to the opportunities through your network. Not to go introducing yourself to people who haven’t asked.
Having a passion, and developing a skill set that is valuable to many businesses, will allow you plenty of opportunity (think writing, graphic design, video editing etc.). It will be easy for your network to introduce you to people/businesses looking for help in those areas. Then, you get hands on experience and new contacts. From there, you can work for even more people and essentially have the inception of a business.
Developing a widely applicable skillset, and working for multiple businesses with it, also helps avoid you ‘putting all your eggs in one basket.’ After time, you won’t have to worry about losing a gig or a job – because you’ve got more and you’re always being introduced to new contacts. All the while – you’re building skills & confidence in something you are passionate about. Of course, critical to having the contacts and networking for new work/gigs, is being damn good at what you do and offering exceptional value!
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