Networking in an uncertain job market

July is here already? I have been unemployed for close to 5 months, living with my parents and travelling to and from London to interview and maintain some sort of connection to friends and colleagues. I returned from an around-the-world trip with big ideas. A start-up, creative, community driven enterprise, smartphone applications. Almost immediately I set about realising them by learning the basics of product development, re-skilling and getting back up to speed on the technology industry. At the same time I was very excited by the prospect of a career change; a new direction, doing something entrepreneurial for once.

However it quickly became apparent I needed to be closer to my professional network in London – which sadly requires me to re-enter the job market to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Queue reality check. I need a job.

My experience is geared primarily toward account management, finance and technology related research services. Not so sexy but certainly attractive across several industry sectors and numerous positions,  however finding an employer and people who share my passion for innovation, community, design and client services is not so easy.

With my CV updated I hit the city. I listened to everyone, discussing opportunities in executive recruiting, micro financing, real estate, consulting, software sales, expert networking, fund raising. I even considered returning to my former employer. I went to the US to learn more about product development opportunities for which I clearly didn’t have enough experience in.

Adapting to a weak labor market, record unemployment and increased competition for corporate jobs is necessary. I am also in a position where I haven’t worked for over a year but have clear ideas about what I want to achieve with my next job. I needed to explore other markets, industry sectors and speak to professionals.

I cannot stress the importance of having a deep professional network when looking for work. The success rate through recruitment agencies and applying to businesses directly is very low from my experience. Human Resources professionals are challenged sifting through hundreds, if not thousands, of applications. Getting noticed is near impossible.

So over the two last months I arranged meetings with some brilliant people with incredible ideas to spread brand Neel Mistry and tell my story. Some of these meetings have led to interesting job prospects; ones that really do offer varied and challenging work in keeping with my goals. Also I have been able to practise my interview technique, share my ideas and learn to communicate at a professional level again.

Two meetings in particular hit the right buttons. July is an important month. It has been months in the making and I feel like I’m on the verge of being involved with something quite unique. I’m glad I persevered.

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