How to get the right job in Nigeria – Networking tips for job seekers

13 November 2017

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How many times have you heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know it’s who you know.”? I hear that often. Having the right qualifications, work experience and well written cover are all excellent tools to have while looking for a great job, but there’s one tool that too often gets overlooked, and that is networking to find a job.

When it comes to job searching, knowing the right people and leveraging on those relationships truthfully through networking can make your job search easier.

Knowing someone who knows someone else can help move your properly written resume and cover letter out of competition and into the very hands of the hiring manager, which in turn can help transform you from unemployed to fully employed.

Proper networking can also mean hearing ahead of time that a company is hiring, or that a job you've been hoping and praying for is opening up even before the listing is posted! In many cases, solid industry connections are just as important in the quest for a new job as the knowledge and experience you bring to the table.

What do you understand by networking?

It's about making genuine contacts and building long term relationships with other people who can either help you directly or connect you with others who can. Often these relationships can lead to future jobs and business opportunities that might not otherwise present themselves. Solid networking can lead to things like referrals, advice and connections.

In order to use networking in your job search, firstly you have to first build your network.

Keep in mind that your network is bigger than just the people you've worked with in the past or that you're working with right now. Your list should include people from all across your social network as well as any groups or organizations you socialize with both personally and professionally.

Excellent places to look for potential networking contacts include:

·         Classmates

·         Social gatherings

·         If you've graduated, look into your Alumni club

·         Friends of friends

·         Your church or mosque

·         Neighbours

·         Groups you play sports with

·         Relatives

·         Volunteer organizations you've worked with

·         Professional organizations

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Now you need to start connecting with these people. When It comes to Job searching, there are two ways you can do this. Informal way and the formal way.

With the informal way, you're reaching out to your personal contacts and asking them for help with your job search. This method is an excellent way to start your job search and can also be used to help build your network as the people you're talking to might be able to introduce you to others who can help you out.

The formal way of professional networking involves going to business specific social events, meetings or associations. There are also people like you who are also networking. Use this to your advantage by talking with others and exchanging contacts. If you're not comfortable going to these events, you can also join participate in job forum on social media.

Regardless of what approach you take, the key to successful networking is to make sure that you treat all your networking contacts with genuine appreciation and professional respect.

If you're lucky to get a job, they'll be happy to celebrate with you. If you're still not employed, a gently reminder might spur them to provide more assistance or introduce you to a someone else.

Most importantly, make sure your networking road goes both ways. Always make yourself available when it's their turn to ask for help.

Raymond Ayinde


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