To find some of the best-paying jobs, master the art of making your networks work for you.

Certainly you have to apply to the various job boards, and to any company openings you discover along the way. But that is only part of the story. The rest of the story involves learning how to motivate your networks to pitch in to do some of the detective work on your behalf.

The point is, in today’s very tight job marketplace, hunting for a job, and what it takes to land a job,  is a shock to most job seekers. You quite literally must pull out all the stops. One often-overlooked stop is your network of contacts. A good job can be anywhere. It’s almost like searching for a needle in a haystack. You’ll do much better at finding it if you have lots of hands and eyes searching for it.

That’s where your networks can come in handy, pardon the pun.

You will need to search hundreds of places and hundreds if not thousands of job ads. Still, you will have missed many opportunities even if you are diligent. That’s where extra eyes can be helpful. That’s where a motivated network of contacts can be helpful. Even later, when you are invited to interviews, [search “interviews” and “interviewing” on this website for tips], you can selectively approach members of your networks for “insider” information that may be helpful to winning your new job.

Here’s a fast-path to motivating your networks to work on your behalf:

  1. Reach out to every relevant person in your network on a PM (private mail) basis, or by phone, or in person.
  2. Briefly explain your situation. Don’t complain and don’t disparage your current employer, if you are still employed. Advise that you are seeking a new job. Of course, SOME DISCRETION is necessary. You don’t want your current employer, or employees at your current company to learn that you are seeking a job at some other company. Yet, in today’s connected world, your colleagues at work may learn of your job quest in due time.
  3. Ask each person in your network for help in no uncertain terms. Be as specific as possible and as relevant as possible to them. It may be to look for a specific type of job, a request for information, a contact name, or an introductory meeting, or anything else that can move you a step closer to your goals.
  4. Outline a few ways in which they may be helpful to you. Give them some ideas about what they can do to help. What to look for. What names to provide. Who to approach on your behalf, etc.
  5. BARTER. Make a clearly understandable offer that will answer their question, “What’s In It For Me?”, (WIIFM). Make a promise. Offer something. Extend an exchange in kind. Arrange an introduction to someone of value to them. Offer a dinner for two. Be creative. Be constructive and concrete. Your offer-in-kind has to be something they’d want.
  6. TIME LIMIT of 30 days. Set a time limit for yourself to inform everyone within your networks. Work hard at advising everyone within that time frame.

BARTERING is an often-overlooked tool that can win the willing cooperation of others. In business, and in careers, a favour for a favour is often a powerful motivator.

Don’t be bashful about approaching your contacts and reaching into other networks for help in finding and landing a job opportunity.