Finding jobs through networking with other people has several advantages over other techniques. In fact, research has shown that it takes two-and-a-half more contacts to reach a ‘yes’ hiring decision when approaching unknown employers, or using a cold call approach. It is much more effective to start by developing a list of individuals with some connection to the job seeker.
Each of these individuals also has social connections, and a marketing chain can be linked together. The job developer then meets an employer through mutual connections. To make the most of this, expand job development so it becomes a part of everyone’s job.
Yet another key tool of market research is to connect with others in a more personal way, known as networking. Networking has always been an accepted and expected business practice for job placement professionals to develop job leads and, for employers, a way to find good employees.
Networking can occur on two levels.
One is the job seeker level. Start by developing a list of individuals with some connection to the job seeker. Each of these individuals also has social connections, and a marketing chain can be linked together. The job developer then can connect with an employer through the network chain of mutual connections.
The second level is the program, school, or agency level. In this approach, you are developing a network based on connections with employers through direct service staff, administration, support personnel, board members, teachers, and family members.
There are also other ways to make employer connections and build a network for your marketing through accessing group associations and events, such as Chamber of Commerce, Rotary clubs, and business groups. One such group, dedicated to supporting business efforts to employ people with disabilities, is the Business Leadership Network (BLN). The USBLN “serves as the collective voice of over 50 Business Leadership Network affiliates across the United States, representing over 5,000 businesses.”