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How is your job search going? When you are tired of the fact that your job hunting is yet to bear fruitful results, you must be thinking hard if there is another way to land a job. Fortunately, more than just sending your job applications to company and simply waiting for the interview invitation, there is one thing you can do to get one step closer to your dream career: build a network.

Many successful people have proved that having a wide network is not only beneficial for your social beings but also professional life. When you meet a successful friend in a school reunion or get to know prominent recruiter, you believe that it is a gold chance to ask them about an employment opportunity. The problem is, using question such as “Do you have any information about jobs suitable for me?” might sound the same as “Please find me a job”. Or another expression, “Are you hiring?” might sound more like “Please hire me”.

While it is true that you might really need a new job badly right now, you should not make it sound so desperate that then people hire you out of pity instead of seeing your skills and ability. Then how do you ask about job without asking for it? Check the following tips:

Research your network you will ask a job

The truth is, you cannot ask a job to all of networks or friends you have. Having network with many recruiters doesn’t guarantee that your job search will be easier either. Asking for a job vacancy to each of them will only waste your time, moreover if in the end, the recruiters who offer you a job are from the company you are not interested in. Therefore, it will be better if you know detailed information about the scope or business field of the person you network with. Choosing one or two person who are in the same interest with you will be more effective rather than asking jobs to many random people.

Define the job you are passionate about

The biggest mistake jobseekers commonly do when asking a job to their networks is they tend to say something like, “Tell me if you have a job, anything will do”. While you are jobless, you should not act like you will be suitable in any job. It will be better to let your network knows what you are passionate about. When asking a job, you can tell specific description, title, and department of the job you want. It is also good idea to talk about your experiences, skills and field you are interested in to open the conversation instead of abruptly asking a job.

Reject the job you don’t want without killing the conversation

If you directly reject a job offered by your friend or colleague in the middle of conversation, the next thing that will happen is that the conversation will end right away. When this happens, this creates an awkward atmosphere that might affect your relationship with them afterward. Therefore, to save the conversation, you should set up your rejection statement by expressing your gratitude and saying that the job will be in your alternative’s list. You can also ask about the completed information about the job, just in case your other friend needs it.

Read also: 4 Most Common Interview Questions about Your Previous Job

Perhaps you have been in the same job for a long time and are satisfied with it. However, staying up-to-date with the current job market is essential, even when you are happy with your current job. Either you are coming out as a fresh-graduate or as an experienced professional, it is imperative to always stay up-to-date with the latest job market developments.

One of the most important reason on why you should stay up-to-date with the job market is to prepared for the worst case scenario. For example, no matter how much you excel in your job role and love your current position, unfortunately company’s financial situation could face an unexpected downturn that can force you to leave.

If such a case happens all out of a sudden, you will be left unsettled as you have no idea what lies ahead on your career path. Sometimes, reality bites. That is why you should always be prepared for uncertain times, this could mean stepping out of your comfort zone. Do not limit your efforts towards learning new knowledge and upgrading information, just because you have settled in a particular job.

Another good reason to always stay updated with the job market is due to job transition. Younger talents with unique competencies out of grad schools are joining the workforce, to raise the competition bar even higher. So, if you continue to stay stagnated in your job role without feeling the willingness to move forward, then you will be left behind those new talents. Hence, you should keep growing your competencies and upgrading skills to meet future business requirements and change in job role demands.

Here are three powerful tips to stay up-to-date with the current job market:

Subscribe for a website related to your expertise

In any profession, staying abreast of the latest information and broadcasts is a must. Nowadays, there are myriad websites on the internet dedicated for various fields and expertise. From food, fashion, photography, technology, to human resources, all you can find easily at the tip of your finger.

One of the easy yet effective way to stay updated with the industry is by subscribing to newsletters and mailing lists from websites related to your expertise. Register your email for the website’s regular bulletin and you can get access to a great amount of statistics and data in the industry. These will be beneficial to enrich your knowledge to remain competitive in the business.

Learn new skills

Personal growth and development is not only crucial for staying updated with the job market, but also vital to stay competitive amidst newer and younger professionals. In this globalised era, there is nothing like a ‘secured job.’ If you do not update your skillsets to meet the latest trend, chances are, your manager will update their human capital requirements by replacing you with younger talents instead. Hence, upgrading your proficiency is highly imperative.

There are various methods you can learn new skills without interrupting your productive working hours. For instance, you can join a training course conducted during weekends, or register for a webinar on the topics you are interested in. While you might need to invest some money into it, this will impact your productivity and efficiency at work.

Join networking groups

Networking is the key to success in any industry. For a start, you should find and join local networking groups related to your expertise. By attending these groups, you will stay up-to-date with prospective opportunities within the industry.

Being involved in a networking group also gives you greater insight, on what is going on in the business and how you should respond to the situation. Make good friends with people who work for the same industry in different job roles. This will help you when a problem arises, as they will provide advice and lend helping hand to resolve the issue.

Next read: How to Keep Personal and Professional Life Separate?