Many of the thousands of professionals that I speak with every year come to me with a bit of a conundrum; “I’m not actively looking and I’m reasonably happy with where I am, however, I want to know what else is on the market and I don’t want to miss out on that perfect opportunity”.

It’s hard enough working full-time, raising a family, staying fit and active as well as trying to maintain an active social life so how could you possibly fit in a thorough and meaningful job search as well?

A lot of people therefore decide that, apart from the occasional job search on a Sunday afternoon with a Gin & Tonic in hand, they will utilise their network.

Networks can do many different things to different people. In my eyes, it’s a collection of people that you know either professionally, personally, socially and/or through referrals. This can often be a very successful way to land a new gig, particularly in a relationship based and relatively small market like Brisbane.

What a lot of professionals don’t understand is that networks aren’t like a tap; you can just turn them on and hope to utilise. They take effort and persistence to maintain. Networks can be an invaluable way to speed up the process of moving from your current position to that dream job you’ve been searching for. Considering that a permanent recruitment process can take upwards of 6 – 8 weeks, it makes sense that you try everything in your power to hurry things along.

Simply picking up the phone or sending out a LinkedIn message once every 4 or 5 years to an old contact to ask if they know of any jobs going in the industry isn’t going to bear the best fruit. It would be like watering your plants once every 6-months and hoping to get a result other than simply an empty pot!

What I believe is key in building a robust and useful network is showing support, interest or help to those contacts when there is no direct benefit for yourself.

  • Send someone a news article that you read online and thought that they might enjoy.
  • Pick up the phone randomly and ask how their position is going and what challenges they are                 facing in their current company.
  • Send them a flyer to an industry event that you are going to and you thought they may like.

All of these things and many more will help to grow your professional reputation within your own network and will set you up for the future when you need to fall back on them.

Job searching can be a stressful and time-consuming process. I don’t know too many professionals who actually enjoy it. whilst people like myself can play a part in speeding up the search process as well as helping to control the stress, why not get some help from the people who have known you and worked with you for years?

Networks and referrals can be the most valuable piece of the job searching puzzle so don’t neglect them.

I see it every day in my line of work and I am constantly trying to build and expand my own network for my clients and candidates to leverage off. If you have neglected your network in recent years why not put aside some time to reconnect and make the first step. Or better yet, get in contact with Optimum Consulting for a few tips or to utilise ours!

Isaac Dufficy – Executive Consultant

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