A Networking Brief Can Structure Your Job Search!

There is a process to find a new job, however, there may be variations of that process. And, you have also heard it said many times that most jobs are found via networking. Networking is the key that opens the door to the hidden job market - jobs that are not advertised or jobs savvy networkers find out about before they are advertised, so they can apply first. As a job seeker, it’s possible that you may not have heard about the networking brief, but you will learn now how you can use it to structure your job search.

A networking brief is a one-page document with three main sections:

Branding Statement - A concise statement that conveys who you are and what you have to offer. It communicates the essence of who you are.

Career History: Where You Have Been - This is a helicopter view of your work background that will let your contacts now your experience, knowledge, skills and abilities. This section is also used as a selling tool, so use it wisely, focusing on your experiences and skills that will show you in the best light.

Future Direction: Where You are Going - This section of your networking brief gives your contacts ideas on how they can assist you in your job search by connecting you to people in companies and industries that you are interested in. To help your contacts to help you, list industries you are targeting, target companies, target positions, desired contacts, scenarios for which you have solutions (how you add value), and your strengths.

A networking brief is not a resume, and is not meant to be a substitute. If you are looking for a job, use your networking brief during formal and semi-formal one-to-one conversations, and with your networking contacts who are not recruiters or hiring managers. It’s quite appropriate to email your contacts your networking brief prior to a scheduled meeting.

Finding a job is your responsibility, so you should never transfer that responsibility to anyone. With that in mind, always make it clear to your contacts that you are not expecting them to find you a job, but you are looking for guidance in your job search based on what they see on your networking brief. If you included industries and companies that you are targeting, it makes it much easier for a contact to help you, because he or she will likely know someone, or someone who knows someone, who is working in that company and/or industry.

If you take the time to create your networking brief, and you approach the exercise thoughtfully, you can structure your job search because you will become very clear about what you want in your career and the direction that you’d like to take. Additionally, you will also have a list of companies that you would like to work for, and the industries in which you would like to work, which makes it much easier to focus and structure your job search.

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