Did you know that just a small amount of jobs in Dubai are found through the open jobs market, that is jobs boards, newspapers and other publicly accessible sources? Yes, most Dubai professionals will be finding jobs through the secret job market which is via employee referrals and networking. In fact, research from Jobvite suggest that 40% of jobs are found through networking with a professional or personal contact.
But, it is not only that networking is the most effective way to find a job, it is also the best way to find your dream job as revealed by the Jobvite survey which found that 41% of job seekers found their best/favourite job via networking.
This is why we are always keen to encourage Dubai jobseekers to engage in face to face networking at careers events, business conferences and social functions as it is the best way to progress your career. But, we realize that face to face networking can be difficult and awkward for many people, meaning that many of you fail to make the most out of face to face networking. This is why we have developed several tips for face to face networking, particularly aimed at those who really hate face to face networking. And you can find these tips below.
1.Focus on career development not getting a job
Networking is not an overnight process and so don’t be disappointed if you do not get immediate results. Networking is a longer term process where you build positive connections with a range of professionals over a period of time – all the time making sure that these connections know what skills and qualities you have to offer. It is these strong connections that may present you with a job opportunity now, in 3 months or even in a year.
2.Attend Conferences and social functions
Every conference and social function that you attend is a potential networking opportunity and a chance for you to build your network. So attend as many events as you can and always see it as an opportunity to make a new connection. You should be attending at least one event or function a month. Always be networking.
3.Have an elevator pitch
Whether you are at a social function or a business event, you will inevitably be asked the question, “What do you do?” In readiness for this question, you should have an elevator pitch ready, which is a highly promotional, 20-30 second description of yourself which you can deliver on demand at social events.
4.Develop an icebreaker
Approaching strangers is one of the most difficult parts of networking. To help you do this, you should develop an opening line (a little bit like a chat up line) which gets the stranger’s attention in positive way so you can introduce yourself and continue the conversation. This known as an icebreaker and there is a list of useful icebreakers here.
5.Give yourself a talking target
At each event, set yourself a target for the number of people you would like to meet/engage with and stick to it. A target is a good motivation tool.
6. Business Card
As you end your conversation with the new connection you should be sure to leave them with a business card and make sure to get hold of their business card. This is a key part of networking.
7. Follow-up and cement your new connection
A few days after meeting your connection, send your new connection a follow-up e-mail or Linked-In request,explaining that it was a pleasure meeting them and for them not to hesitate to contact you if you can be of assistance. This will cement your new connection.