By Frances Chaves
“I don’t like to be out of my comfort zone, which is about a half-an-inch wide.” (Larry David)
If you are having trouble finding work, but insist on networking only with people and business colleagues you already know, you have to learn to get out of your comfort zone. Today’s job market is too competitive to only rely on your half-an-inch-wide circle of acquaintances.
At least 60 percent of all jobs are found today through networking. Certainly you should cultivate contacts with family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. But, unless you know a lot of hiring managers, you have to expand your circle.
The trick is to get the people you know to recommend people they know who could help you. These people who are outside your comfort zone can be the key to finding your way into the so-called “hidden job market,” the deep underground reservoir of un-published job opportunities.
One of the best ways to move beyond your comfort zone is through associations and professional organizations, like the Professional Services Group of Central New Jersey (PSGCNJ). One of the great services that PSGCNJ provides is the opportunity to sharpen your networking skills in a friendly, supportive environment.
I found it extremely hard to talk to others when I was job-hunting. After all, why would anyone want to talk to an unemployed person? I learned at PSGCNJ that the biggest part of networking is listening, and whenever possible, finding an opportunity to be helpful to the other person. This made it easier for me.
I also discovered that although the majority of people I met at PSGCNJ were unemployed they were all professionals with contacts in the companies where they used to work. A personal recommendation from a PSGCNJ member helped open the door to my present job.
Through LinkedIn, I discovered that the hiring manager had two first degree connections with PSGCNJ members I knew quite well. The PSGCNJ connections provided me with invaluable insights to the hiring manager and helped me ace my interview.
If the thought of moving beyond your comfort zone is too scary, try PSGCNJ. You cannot find a more supportive group to help you network to success. Here is one more quote to keep in mind: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” (Neale David Walsch).
By Frances Chaves