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Nifty networking plus valuable volunteering = career cheer

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As Enterprise Coordinator at Enterprise M3 LEP, Shirley Ducker helps schools and colleges improve their careers and enterprise activities to engage with the world of employment. But it’s through her own personal journey that she’s learned the most about the power of networking. 

Shirley’s here as a guest blogger to share her experience with you…

Being unemployed, whether by choice or redundancy, is not a good place to find yourself.  There are many emotions to work through.  So, where do you start?

Job searching… and soul searching

When I was unemployed, I spent endless hours looking for my next role. The main job sites provided some opportunities, but the process was slow and demoralizing. However, I did learn valuable lessons about the recruitment landscape: processes, job roles… and that many applications aren’t even acknowledged.

I also learned about myself – so I suppose you could say I did a lot of soul searching too.  What did I really want to do?  I looked at all my skills and experience and continued to apply for various jobs in vain. That, it seems, is not the most effective way to do it…

It’s who you know (and a little encouragement helps a lot!)

I had been flying the job searching plane single handed but I kept getting lost. When I was introduced to the M3 Job Club, I gained a co-pilot – and it was such a relief to feel the support of others. I was in a place of help and encouragement. It was there I affirmed my direction and discovered what a difference networking makes to job hunting.

The M3 Job Club delivers free advice and support through a 16-week programme. In a positive group environment, they will help and support you – regardless of your position, whether out of work or through your role having been placed at risk of redundancy.

When a visitor to the M3 Job Club asked for volunteers, it was such a turning point for me. Through saying “I’d like to” I was put in touch with an organisation that I hadn’t heard of – one that had a vacancy.  I didn’t get offered the role, but it was a confidence boost and spurred me on to keep trying.

That same offer to volunteer led me to another employer, who at the time said there would soon be a role I might like to apply for.  I’ve since been offered this role!  I know I would not have found it myself had it not been for the contacts I made via the M3 Job Club and volunteering.

Connecting to succeed

As well as meeting future employers, the job club also helped me realise that I was best off looking for roles in the sphere of my current knowledge – and anyway that was what I enjoyed.  It took a few months to work this out!  Job hunting is hard going and sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. An outside perspective can help a lot.

I now fully appreciate why most people agree networking is an effective way to find employment – not just scrolling through job ads.  Of course, building relationships with recruiters is important too – because you’ll get that support and feedback to keep your enthusiasm up and get a role that’s right for you.

Feedback is vital to the process in general – I’ve heard that even sharing interview experiences with other M3 Job Club members has led some to find their next role.

My message to all seekers of new business and job searchers is…network! From my recent discoveries, I can see why this is true but initially, I mainly thought of it for getting new business and the people I knew wouldn’t necessarily have a job for me.  I didn’t think that other people’s connections could also help me find my next role.

Connecting is so important in this fast-changing world of recruitment. As with so many things, it took a team approach to steer my plane and safely land it.   Be a nifty networker, do some valuable volunteering and cheer when that job offer comes along!

Need support to find a job in or around Basingstoke? The cheerful team at Wote Street People can help you on the path back to work. Just give us a call on 01256 799 127 or call maxine@wotestreetpeople.co.uk

 

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