Is the job market hiding, or are you?

For some individuals, the answer is yes to both of these questions. If you’re still looking for your new position in a listing such as newspaper or Internet, realize that only a very small percentage of recruitment notices ever make it to those listings and of those that do, about 50% of them are included solely to satisfy legal or corporate policy requirements.

The real job market is in the network.

The term network; a.k.a. networking used to mean who you knew. It followed that the individual who knew more people would likely be hired first. That’s no longer the case. In today’s ultra-competitive world, the “winner” is the individual about whom more people know. Networking success today is measured in the number of individuals who know about you, your talents, and your skills. There are a myriad of methods to accomplish this and a healthy balance of each of the methods should be sought. These include: joining and attending events in your industry, honing your social media presence, especially on LinkedIn, becoming involved on committees within organizations that support your industry of choice, and more. The purest form of networking, however, is informational interviewing.

Informational interviewing is an opportunity to meet with an industry professional to learn more about the industry, what it’s like to work in a particular company, the career path that professional followed to get to their current position, what skills are most valued within the profession, and how success is measured. This is your chance to gather information in a setting far less stressful than a job interview.

About 15 minutes is ample time for an informational interview. Keep your questions succinct and look for chances to convey your career goals and knowledge in a conversational setting. REMEMBER, this NOT a job interview. It is instead, pure networking. For every informational interview you conduct, you expand the network of professionals that know about you far more than you realize. Assuming you made a good impression, the individual you met with can now refer to having met you when they learn from a counterpart that there is a job opening within the industry. People talk. Take advantage of that to open doors for your next career move.

Want to know more about the subtle nuances that will enhance your information interviewing success? Or perhaps you want to learn more about how to build your personal brand. (YES, you ARE a brand!) I’ll be on-hand to answer questions on these topics as part of a LinkedIn Workshop that will be hosted in January by the DCTC-MPI Student Club.

Together we can make 2015 YOUR YEAR. Watch this blog and the MPI online newsletter (www.mnmpi.org) for more information. Meet me on LinkedIn!