It is estimated that as many as 70% of all jobs do not get advertised, according to Business Insider. (1) This means that you could easily miss out on your dream job. Thankfully, having awareness of this means that you can put strategies in place to help you find the best jobs around. This is important particularly when you consider that the least advertised jobs are also the most senior positions. If you want to know where to find the best jobs, however, you need to learn how to network.

What Is Networking?

Networking is a bit of a buzzword, which means it is also highly misunderstood and used improperly. According to networking should actually mean a focused process to find the next opportunity. It involves using and expanding your circle of connections to spread the word about what your ambitions and aspirations. (2) Networking events, where strangers come together over bad coffee and fatty canapes do not work and that is not what the power of networking is about either. Rather, it is about taking part in focused, targeted actions to expand your connections and make sure people know about who you are and what you want to achieve. By having a proper networking plan in place, you will have the biggest chance of seeing all those non-advertised jobs and being considered for them as well. Doing so, you will be happy to know, is down to just three steps.

1. Create a Network Map and Expand on What You Already Have

If you want to find the best jobs, first of all, you need to determine who is currently in your network. This means anyone with whom you have ever had a connection, so it is pretty large. Your friends, members of your family, colleagues, acquaintances, clients, former bosses, parents of your child’s friends, organization and club members, even your Starbucks barista (if you are on first name basis), are all part of your network. Start by listing these people.

Create a spreadsheet that lists their name, who they are, and how you can contact them. Information on email address, cellphone number, or social media profile is usually good. While this sounds like a lot of work, social networking sites are actually the perfect place to do it, particularly LinkedIn, as this will list all this information for you. But you also have to classify it. Find out the people who you are the closest to and work your way outwards from there. Those who are closest to you, such as your spouse, children, parents, and siblings should be on your inner ring, and people such as the aforementioned barista at Starbucks should be on your most outer ring. When looking for new jobs, it is those in the middle rings that are likely to be the most important.

You now have a visual representation of your network. It is important to note that everybody has such a network, although not everybody has created a visual representation of it. But each of the individuals on your list has a network of his or her own and that usually overlaps with your own network.

2. Create a Message and Deliver It

Once you have your network sorted, you need to create a concise and powerful message that you can send out, informing people of what you are looking for. You need to make sure that your message is clear, making a specific statement of your ideal job. Stick to no more than two paragraphs of about three sentences, so people can read it in less than a minute. It should tell:

– The type of job you want to find
– The sector you are interested in
– Around two examples of job positions that you prefer
– Important factors about things such as culture, salary, company size, and working hours.
– Examples of organizations that you would like to work for.

You must make sure that your statement is catchy and snappy, so do write a couple of drafts and improve on them. Make it look authentic and real, which is what it should be. It will showcase to others that you know what you want. You also have to make sure that you are selling yourself, showing yourself to be an asset to any company that will have you. It is important to note that it is all too easy to get this wrong and come across as begging for any job.

In order to create this statement and make it snappy you’ll need to spend a little time working on each area to make sure you are clear on what you’re looking for. Analyze each area and determine what feels authentic for you. Crafting this short statement actually requires a fair amount of thinking time to make sure you’re really clear on what you are looking for. Once you have written your statement, make sure that those in the inner circle of your network read it to give you some advice on how you could improve things.

Next, you are ready to share your message with the world. Start with the second ring of your network, sending them an email or private/direct message through their social media accounts. Follow up on this, even inviting people for a quick coffee, for instance. Make sure your spreadsheet shows who you contacted and when so that you can keep track of things as well. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back, as the response rate is likely to be no more than 30%, and declining even more as you move towards the outer rings in your network. Remember, however, that you only need to find that one connection that will help you find the best jobs, so anyone who doesn’t reply probably didn’t have that position anyway.

3. The Follow Up Stage

Here is when things get really exciting. The first stage was preparation and the second stage was reaching out. Now that you have done that, the waiting game begins, until someone messages you back and says a position is available to you, or even simply to connect more to build a stronger network. Make sure you show yourself to be humble and grateful for any opportunity that is given to you and demonstrate that what you said in your statement is actually an accurate representation of who you are.