3 Ways to Network Your Way into a Job without Looking Desperate
By Selipha Kihagi
Networking is the most effective way of getting a job in Kenya. You can do your job search, apply to random positions you find, but only when you have a recommendation does the process become easier. Networking is also the reason most people in Kenya believe the only way to get a job is by knowing people. But unlike the common belief that this is favouritism, job seekers who get hired because they knew someone on the inside usually have nothing to do with nepotism or being favoured. These job seekers understand that networking is the quickest way into a job, and they go ahead and implement it.
But even as networking will get you a job faster, it can also be the reason you do not get hired into a position. Why? You are probably making mistakes as you try to network, which could be making you look desperate in the process. Remember that employers and recruiters don’t like desperate job seekers, so if you happen to make this mistake every time you try, you could end up very frustrated.
So, how can you network your way into a job without looking desperate?
1.Always personalize your emails and messages
Like we have mentioned before on this platform and others, recruiters and employers try to avoid reading random emails from job seekers. But if they are personalized and addressed to them, they just might be compelled to open. So, writing an email and addressing it as Dear Sir or Madam is the number one fail. Also, in a networking email, the last thing an employer wants to see are subject lines like “looking for a job” or “please help me find a job”or “I have been jobless for a long time, please help”.
Such subject lines already depict your frustration with job search and to some extent show your desperation. While this may be true about your situation, remember that the aim of a networking email is to introduce yourself and try to form a lasting relationship. Just like any other relationship, networking your way into a job should be taken one step at a time.
2.Send in your CV only after you have established a relationship
A common mistake in the networking front is where job seekers reach out to recruiters and employers with a copy of their CVs and expect to hear back about a job. Unless you are sending out unsolicited job applications with the hope of reaching someone who is hiring, this action will only be a wasted effort. Why? You are reaching out to someone who does not know you and expecting that just because they received your CV they will automatically help you. The job market does not work like this.
You must work on establishing a relationship first. Get to know these recruiters and employers; ask them about the industry they work in, ask them what is required of a job seeker in your field, show them you are more interested in understanding the job market and then after, you can mention that you are looking for a job. At this point, recruiters who get impressed by your approach will ask you to send them your CV. If they don’t ask, you can always ask them if it’s okay to send in your CV for future consideration.
3.Keep your emails and messages short
While most people use emails to network with potential employers, the existence of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter makes it possible for one to reach out through the inbox. That is why this point is referencing emails and messages. It does not mean that you start looking for a recruiter’s or employer’s mobile number and start sending them SMS, No. This will be regarded as invading their privacy and will not be received very well.
So as you send in those emails and messages, keep them as brief as you can. Do not tell a long story about the problems you encountered when pursuing your diploma and degree or how you have been searching for a job with no luck. This will be interpreted as desperation. The people you are emailing also have issues they are dealing with and are short on time, meaning your long email may go unread. So instead, focus on the issue at hand, be very professional and make it easy to open your email using a catchy subject line.
When you are networking for a job, remember that you are reaching out to a stranger. They don’t know who you are, don’t know your story, and most importantly, they are not under any obligation to help you. So be humble and approach them carefully as you would any other stranger on the street.