Showcasing your potential - networking 2.0

Large network does not necessarily lead to better job search chances

Job ad - application - rejection, job ad - application, rejection, job ad - application... many of newcomers in Norway who look for jobs have been through this cycle tens and hundreds of times. With each new application that gets rejected the self esteem becomes lower and lower, sense of self worth and purpose diminishes, and depression starts settling in.

Then you hear the magic work 'networking' - "you need to build your network in order to increase your chances of getting a job, up to 65% of jobs never get announced and are filled through personal and professional networks". Ok then, networking it is. Where can you meet new people that could be relevant for your jobs search? Volunteering is one option, then there's many different networking events on various topics happening almost every day.

If you're anything like me, you won't go. Because you dread the very first question that comes up when you meet new people: "So what do you do? Where do you work?" When I was looking for a job I felt very uncomfortable every time I met a new person and they asked me these questions. I wanted to be honest (and didn't know any networking tricks for more efficient handling of these situations) so I would reply: "I actually don't work, I'm looking for a job" and felt like the biggest loser.

If you're brave and don't mind revealing your job seeker status to new acquaintances, you probably don't have any issues attending networking events. You go, meet interesting people, tell them about your profession and that you're looking for a job, ask for coffee meetings and contact details of other people who could be relevant to your mission of finding work (for these occasions it's good to have your CV polished and up to Norwegian standards - and we can help you with that! Check out our CV writing seminars here).

But sometimes even hundreds of coffees with relevant people won't lead to the result you want - a job. You might feel your network is huge and you know everyone worth knowing in the industry you're interested in but there seems to be some invisible barrier that prevents you from getting what you want. What this actually is is something as intangible as the 'vibe' you give off when you talk to people.

When a job seeker meets a person they would like to get a job out off, there is a power imbalance in the relationship working against the job seeker. The new acquaintance has something the job seeker wants out of the relationship, and the more they want it, the more it shows. It's a bit like in romantic relationships - the more you want a partner, the more desperate you come across, and more unattractive you become for the other person. And no amount of self realization of this phenomenon and all the attempts to control this can ever fully remove this slightly 'needy' vibe.

Yes, I know it's not fair. Yes, I know it's

hard to feel empowered when you just want to quit the whole Norwegian adventure. But fear not! There are ways to get your confidence back and give off 'good vibes' instead, even when you don't feel on top of your game. So how do you do it? Read below:

1) Fake it til you make it

At our recent event co-hosted with Diversify where we spoke about showcasing your skills for the Norwegian job market one of our speakers, brilliant Nada Ahmed, shared her experience of appearing more attractive to potential employers. In spite of being in a low place, Nada appeared engaged and active by creating a lot of content for her professional social media accounts, recording videos, writing articles, and sharing pictures from relevant professional events. This led to companies perceiving her as a capable professional.

2) Start your own project

This might sound counter-intuitive: why start your own project/organization/company when you just want a job? The truth is starting your own thing will make a huge difference to your job hunt. Firstly, you're going to map out your own internal resources, passions, skills, and abilities, to figure out what it is that you want to do. This way you'll become more aware of the unique abilities you have and everything you can contribute with, and you'll become more confident. Secondly, executing on your idea will allow you to engage in meaningful work, increase your self esteem, bring in some money, and showcase what you're capable of to potential employers.

Next time you go to a networking event you won't be a job seeker giving off 'needy' vibes. You're going to be a proud freelancer/founder/project owner talking about your passion and how you managed to turn your idea into reality.

A friend of mine once told me: "In Norway jobs are mostly offered to those who are employed, if you don't have a job people won't employ you because they think there's something wrong with you." This of course is not true in 100% of cases but there definitely is an element of truth to it. If we create our own 'jobs' - activities and projects - we will show there's nothing wrong with us. On the contrary, we can show all the amazing talents and skills we have!

Nikol Mard

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