A generation ago, job ads were the way to find jobs. Then it was online advertising boards. Today, many vacancies never even make it to market, filled instead through professional network referrals and online headhunting. According to Peter Antonius, Managing Director of the Australian office of RGP, the importance of a ‘professional’ network is becoming increasingly important for people looking for a new job.
“The market dynamic has changed. Due to the current economic climate, where people are finding it harder to find opportunities, job seekers are realising that a professional network is critical to success”. The global business platform LinkedIn plays a central role. “The advantage with LinkedIn is that you may be able to find out who the company might be linked to in your network, and that informal referral goes a long way in terms of recruitment. A candidate can go from possibly number 90 in the pile to potentially number one”.
Yet the Resources consultant warns that simply adding as many people as you can on LinkedIn is not the answer. “We have to remember, LinkedIn is not Facebook” says Antonius. “You have to, in a professional and courteous way, build a professional network of people with whom you have some commonality and a good rapport – people who may be of mutual benefit at some point”. He adds: “Join communities and groups on LinkedIn that are in your field. Keep an eye out for networking events that might be good to attend”.
Search for opportunities
As a result of the poor economy, Antonius emphasizes that a proactive approach is key: “In this market, in particular, you have to take matters into your own hands. You can’t rely on the recruiters and you can’t rely on werving en selectiekantoren, because there is just not enough opportunity out there. You have to be more proactive than ever”.
His advice to job seekers is to take a two-pronged approach. “One approach is a bit more direct, where you are going straight to the organisation or leveraging off that organisation to attend events. And then it’s through your network – use them to help you get information and contacts in that organisation or connect with people they may know who could help”.