Networks for Job Search Success

The secret to a great job search

A Labour Market Information Portal report released today provided interesting data on where the demand for staff remains high despite of, or because of, Covid-19.  It highlighted key employment areas, employability skills in demand and how recruiters are finding hires.

The Jobs in Demand Employer Survey confirmed that health care, social assistance, transport, postal/courier services, warehousing and manufacturing industries are recruiting.  Perhaps surprisingly retail sales also made the list.  Aligned with those industries, the occupations most in demand were, truck drivers, nurses, aged/disability carers, packers, pharmacy and retail assistants.

The report identified the following key employability skills as being most in demand:


  • Teamwork

  • Communication

  • Work Ethic

  • People Skills

  • Organisational Skills

And this is where it gets interesting
.  The report showed that while 65% of the employers surveyed are advertising roles on online job boards like Seek, 50% are using word of mouth to source new talent, either as a stand-alone or in addition to other methods.   Why?  In uncertain times, employers are keen to have talent come with recommendations as there is a perception that this decreases the risk of a bad hire.  Think about it – would you recommend someone to your employer if you didn’t think that they would build your own reputation in a positive way?

So how do you take advantage of this information in your job search?  Know and work your networks!

A lot of people are reluctant to use their networks in their job search as they believe it involves going cap in hand and asking people for jobs.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  You are recruiting them onto your ‘helping team’.  This approach will generally bring out the best in your helpers – as most people are flattered to be asked to provide assistance in making connections and passing along leads.  They don’t have to feel cautious about having to give you a job, so they’ll keep the lines of communication open.

The more people in your network, the more chance you enjoy to learn of opportunities and have a shot at these roles.   Research indicates that in the job search it is the weak network connections (second and third level) that produce the best results.

You may have seen the Covid-19 infection models – well, networks work the same way.  For every 5 people that you know, if they each know 5 more, you’ve an effective second-level network of 25 people and 125 at the third level!  Who amongst them might have information on a role that would be a good fit for you and your skills?

So how should you go about using your networks?

Step 1

Firstly consider everyone you know.  These may be work colleagues through your previous work (both local and overseas), your partner’s colleagues, friends, people from your place of worship, LinkedIn connections, someone you met at the gym or a sports club/association.  The list is almost limitless.  It might also be the presenter or co-attendees at that recent online learning webinar you attended.

Consider the following:

Q.       Who might they know that they could connect you with?

Q.       Where do they work?

Q. Is this a company that does work that interests you?

Q. Might they have connections into another organisation that interests you?

Q.       What do you want these people to do?

Step 2

Be clear in what you are hoping to achieve when you contact people and how they can help you.  Are they connectors? Advice givers?  Sounding boards? Supporters? Facilitators? Sponsors? Potential employers?

Step 3

Make your approach with your purpose in mind.  Know your transferable skills and be prepared to guide them in what you’re hoping they will add to your job search.

Step 4

Keep in touch with your ‘helping team’ – keep them informed of your progress and make sure to thank them for their help and let them know when you’re successful in your search.

Step 5

Continue to maintain and build your networks beyond your job search to position yourself and have the opportunity to return the favour down the line.

Next steps

The long and short of it is that if you don’t have or don’t action a networking strategy in your job search, you’re likely missing some of the biggest chances to learn of and secure a new opportunity.  So go on, get uncomfortable and have a go.

Need more assistance in developing your job search strategy? We know that everyone’s story is different and requires a unique approach.  If you need help in identifying your next role and pitching yourself to employers, contact us to see how we can help you find the job that’s your best fit.