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If you’re trying to find a job, the best place to start is with your network—everyone you know! In this video I’ll show you exactly how to build your network and use networking skills to find a job. You’ll hear from several experts along the way and, of course!, I’ll give you a quick English lesson at the end!
This video is Part 1 of 10-part course all about finding a job in the US. During these 10 lessons you can learn about everything you’ll need to find a job—from resume writing to salary negotiation. The series is packed with expert interviews and mock interviews. You’ll learn a lot from each expert, and watching the mock interviews will give you specific examples of what we’re discussing.
If you’re ready to build your network and find your dream job this is a great place to start. I’m excited to have you along on this journey and I can’t wait to hear about how you use this video to increase your networking skills. If you find any of these networking tips helpful please send me a note in the Comments. I’d love to hear from you and get your feedback on this video. And if you have any specific networking successes after watching the video please share them in the Comments so that everyone in our community can use your story for inspiration!
Networking. If you’re an extrovert, this could be really easy for you. If you’re an introvert, the very word may cause your heart to race. Either way in this video, you’re going to learn how to maximize your connections and uncover new opportunities and relationships to advance your career.
Here, we begin the process of finding a job in the US. In this 10-part course, we take you from here, the very beginning, to landing the job, and negotiating your salary. Now, I teach English as a foreign language and a lot of my students are interested in coming to the US to work. But this course is for anyone, an American or not, looking for a job or thinking about switching careers.
I’ve also put a small English lesson at the end of each video in the course relating to a topic in that video for my non-native students. At the end of this video, you’ll find a lesson on the different ways we use the word ‘word’ in American English.
For this course, I’ve interviewed three experts to help us understand exactly how to shine as an applicant and an interviewee. And though I’ve applied for and gotten many jobs in my life, I learned lots of new tips on impressing employers. If you watch this whole course, I have no doubt you will be way ahead of other people competing for the same job you want.
Our three experts that we’ll be learning from in this course are Cindy. She is currently a recruiter, where all she does all day is look at resumes and interview potential employees. Before that, she worked as executive director of a non-profit in New York City. She’s looked at literally thousands of resumes and conducted hundreds of interviews. Cindy is going to help you get this job.
Steve. He’s a small business owner here in Pennsylvania. He regularly hires new employees and will give you clear insight into what he’s thinking and what he’s looking for when he goes through cover letters and resumes, and what will make him want to hire you in an interview. Steve is going to help you get this job.
Laura she’s a career adviser at prestigious college here in the US. She’s been helping students land their dream jobs for years. Laura is going to help you get this job.
Today, we’re going to talk about networking. Why network?
When we’re hiring someone that’s been referred, boy, they almost always get an interview.
Network because it will connect you to people at organizations where you want to work, and being connected to someone at an organization can greatly increase your chances of getting an interview.
Ok, well what are the ways can you look for jobs and improve your chances of getting them?
I asked Laura.
I would say the number one way is networking.
Dang it, it’s still networking.
And I know that we hear that over and over again, and some of us kind of roll our eyes because we don’t love networking, but it Is, it’s played out again and again that networking is the best way to find opportunities.
Networking, again. She brings up LinkedIn. It’s a website that professionals use in the US A lot. So if you’re looking for a job in the US, it’s important to get to know it, and to use it if at all possible.
So how should you use LinkedIn?
Or let’s say you’re interested and aquaponic gardening, or farming. That’s something that’s very niche but that you can just enter the keyword and you can see people who are actually working in that industry, and it’s a way to reach out to those people, build your network, or to just see what kind of jobs they’ve had in the past, so that you can look at those organizations, you can see if those organizations have jobs. So it’s a great way to do research, and extend your network at the same time, and then find opportunities.
Create a profile, create as many connections as you can. Friends, family, former co-workers and so on. That way, as you do research and see organizations that you’d like to work for, you can see how closely you’re connected to someone who works there. Aside from LinkedIn, how else should you be networking to maximize connections? Laura talked about going to conferences in the field in which you want to work. Conferences can be expensive, but you can look into volunteering, which could get you in for free.
You can find opportunities just by going to those conferences, talking to people looking at job postings that people have, and are advertising there.
That’s a great tip, I never thought about that, but if you make the effort to go to a conference and meet people face-to-face, that’s really going to help build your network.
And they want to meet you too without having to go through the whole process of trying to find someone. So if you meet someone you have a good connection, you’re already miles ahead of someone else who just submits a paper resume.
LinkedIn, conferences, what else?
I would just say talking to people. You never know when you’re going to meet someone that could have a tip for you, or have a connection for you. I’ve heard of people talking to someone next to them on the airplane and ending up getting a job or an opportunity that way. So just talking to people in general and making connections.
But if you’re very intentionally trying to network, then I would say start thinking about who you already know in your network. So friends, family, friends of family, family of friends, former professors, former teachers, your doctor, anyone that you already know in your network, telling them what you’re looking for and just putting the word out there in the universe to as many people as you can. They may know someone who knows someone.
So you already have a network based on people you know but then they know other people as well. And then I would say that if you’re a college student, your university or college may have a very extensive alumni directory that you could tap into and start reaching out to people that way because of that similar shared alma mater.
So even if it’s hard for you to imagine yourself striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on an airplane, you can still put a lot of effort into letting people know what you’re looking for. Once you’ve discovered someone in your networking that you think could really be of help to you, that you think could really be an important connection, what can you do?
And then once you make a connection with someone, the best way to network with them is through an informational interview. So an informational interview is when you turn the tables and you are the one who is interviewing them about their work or their career as opposed to them interviewing you for a position. And so those typically are a half an hour, 45 minutes, over coffee, on the phone, and you’re just learning what you can about them, and making that connection so that while you’re building a connection for a potential opportunity in the future, you’re also learning a lot about the industry and it can help you with your job search, just learning what they have to say.
Okay, so if your friend’s mom says: hey my co-workers husband works in that, then you say: great! Can I have the contact information? And if they’re willing to give it out, then you just call the person up and say: I’d love to ask a few questions about your work?
So typically I would say that first contact should be email, just so it’s lower pressure. But saying this is who I am, this is why I’m interested in you specifically, here’s a couple of specific questions I would like to ask you. Do you have twenty thirty minutes that you could talk to me the next couple of weeks?
And then, you know, you’re having this conversation with him, you’re wanting to prepare, making sure you have a lot of questions ready. Sometimes all it takes is you ask one question, and that person talks for half an hour. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get them to talk. So you have to have 10 to 15 questions, and it’s really just whatever you want to know about their career, their organization, their current job, their graduate program, and getting as much information as you can, and then always following up with a thank-you note, a handwritten thank you note, or an email. Either way, but just letting them know that you appreciate the time that they’ve spent with you.
Again, it’s just a fostering that relationship and not all relationships will turn into opportunities, but some of them will.
Wow that’s a lot of effort. That’s really putting yourself out there. How often does it work? And I would say personally, I’ve had about half of my job opportunities result as or happened because of networking.
Networking with people that you didn’t already know very well that you had to make some effort to network with them?
I would say it’s probably about half and half. Some of them were friends who connected me with someone else. Yeah, more often than not, its friends or someone I know connecting me with someone I don’t know, and then having a conversation with them. Them letting me know about opportunities in the moment or telling me as they see them come up later. So it’s worth what sometimes feels like a lot of effort, and sometimes awkward conversations.
Especially for an introvert, this kind of thing can be harder, but just it’s worth if you’re really looking for work, and you think you’ve made a good connection it’s worth the effort to step out of your comfort zone and try to do that.
And I think for introverts, the positive thing about informational interviews is that it’s one-on-one. And so it feels a lot more manageable. Networking events can be really overwhelming for introverts, and so although those events can be helpful and you may meet people, typically you aren’t developing as authentic and strong of relationships as when you have a one-on-one conversation with someone.
Can you imagine if you’ve sat down with someone for 30 minutes for a conversation, they’re going to get to know you and understand your strengths and your personality. If you end up applying for a job at that person’s organization, they’re going to have a lot more to say about you than if you just exchanged a few emails. So though it takes effort and require some preparation, the time spent will likely be more fruitful than spending that time scouring the internet for positions. Having said that, there are other ways to look for jobs outside of networking.
There are also some very specific associations for different industries that have their own job registries. So you can be looking at, for example, the National Association of speech-language pathologists, you can go to their website they have their own job registry and look there for opportunities.
Are those usually free? If you’re looking for a job?
Yes. Not always, but they often are and there are industry specific websites as well like idealist.org is for non-profit jobs, specifically, and that’s a free website. Typically, if there’s a fee, it’s a minimal fee.
But don’t get sucked into spending all your time looking for the right job. Spend most of your time making the right connections with people.
The other thing I wanted to add here at the end is that 70% of a job search should be networking. So this really… I just want to highlight this in the last part that how important networking is, 75% should be spent on researching people, researching organizations, writing that initial email to somebody, following up with them, talking with them, having that informational interview, following up on any tips or advice they give you, following up with them, sending them a thank-you note, staying in touch in the future, if that makes sense, if you had a good connection.
So that’s 70% of the job search, 30% of the job search is looking for positions, looking on job platforms, writing your cover letter, tailoring or targeting your resume. So it’s really flipped from the way that I think the general population thinks about the job search. So spending more time focused on building that network and connecting with people, and less time actually scouring the job platforms, and creating your application materials.
Interesting, I would have definitely probably defaulted myself to doing all this research sort of in a whole by myself at the computer rather than seeing who’s around that might be able to help me out.
To recap, your chances of getting a job will greatly improved if you have a connection to a company, or an organization. And there are ways you can create those connections. Build your network, online like on LinkedIn, and in real life by going to conferences, striking up conversations, reaching out to friends, family, current and former co-workers, teachers, classmates, and so on. Let people know your goals. Look for possible links and when you find a good one, make a connection and maybe do an informational interview on the phone or in person.
When you make an amazing connection and find your dream job, you’re going to need to put together a cover letter, a resume, and beef up your interview skills. The rest of this course will take you through that whole process. We’ll hear a lot more from Steve, get a wealth of advice from Cindy, and continue to learn from Laura.
The next video will be your resume, then your cover letter. There might be hundreds of people sending in cover letters and resumes for the job that you’re applying for. You’ll learn how to get into the ‘YES pile’. Then we’ll dive into the interview process. There are important concrete ways you can prepare to make a huge, positive impression in an interview and I’ll make sure you know them.
For my non-native students we’re going to get your English lesson in just a minute. If you haven’t already, be sure to click the subscribe button and the bell for notifications. I make new videos on the English language and American culture every Tuesday, and have over 600 videos on my channel to date, focusing on listening comprehension, and accent reduction. While you’re waiting for next week’s video, a great step would be to check out this Get Started Playlist.
Now, here’s your English lesson. I want to go over the different ways we use the word ‘word’. You’re used to thinking of this as how we describe at, there, hippopotamus. This unit of speech. Laura used the phrase “to put the word out there”. The ‘word’. What word? This reference isn’t to a single word like hippopotamus but here, the word ‘word’ means news or information.
You want to put or get the ‘word’ out there. You want to announce to people what kind of a job you’re trying to get.
Anyone that you already know in your network, telling them what you’re looking for, and just putting the word out there in the universe to as many people as you can.
Put the word out there in the universe. So that even people in other galaxies will be looking for jobs for you. No, I’m just kidding. Out into the universe, out into the world, these are things we can add on, but they don’t change the meaning. All the phrases mean to tell people something. To try to make sure everyone knows to spread the word. You want to make sure everyone in your community, all your contacts know what kind of job you’re looking for. So if they hear about an opportunity, they can tell you about it.
Anyone that you already know in your network, telling them what you’re looking for and just putting the word out there in the universe to as many people as you can.
You may have heard someone say ‘what’s the word?’ or ‘any word?’ You can say this if you’re waiting to hear from someone. For example, let’s say my sister-in-law is coming to visit today, we don’t know what time. We’re waiting for her to let us know which train she’s taking. I might say to David, what’s the word from Audrey? Or any word from Audrey?
And finally, a tip on the pronunciation of this word. Don’t try to make a vowel sound and then the R consonant. The vowel sound here is actually just like the R consonant. So go right from the W, wuh– to the R, urr– wuh– urr– wur, wur, and then the D. Word. Word.
So I invite you to put the word out there, to spread the word, that you’re learning lots of interesting things with Rachel’s English. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.