Network to a New Job

Six degrees of separation: Artistic visualization
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Industry experts, colleagues, friends and analysts all agree that the key to a successful job search is networking. In days past almost every applicant had the opportunity shake hands with the boss and sell themselves in person. Today, you must make your way around technology just to get to a phone interview!

It is more important than ever to work to discover a way to have contact with a real human being.  We sometimes joke about deals made on the golf course, or sales closed over dinner but believe it or not, even in today’s techno environment, this still holds true.  A large percentage of jobs are never publicized.  They are filled through an internal network.  Sometimes jobs are even created based on the strength of a personal contact.  So, what can you do to take advantage of this job search tactic?

  • Keep your resume updated.  Even if you are not in the active job market, be prepared for the opportunity that may come your way through casual contact.  You never know whom you might meet in the checkout line, at your child’s soccer game or on an airline flight.
  • If you are actively seeking a job, tell people!  Spend some time each week, reviewing your contacts.  Call or email them letting them know you’re in the job market.  Briefly state your skills and your desired position and ASK if they know of anyone who might be looking for someone with your background.
  • When you receive a lead from a contact, follow-up and let them know the result.  Be sure to thank them for their help.
  • Is there a company for which you’d love to work?  Contact them! You do not have to wait for a posting or open position.  If you do not have a personal contact at the company, do your homework.  Find out the name of the hiring manager(s) for your position of interest.  There are a number of approaches that you can use:  job shadowing, mentoring, take them to lunch or coffee to gain their expertise on the job market.  Can’t get to the hiring manager?  Try another avenue such as sales representatives.
  • Use technology to develop personal contacts. LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter can help you to network through your six degrees of separation to get to a hiring manager.
  • Attend organizational meetings.  Meetings are a great way to make solid contacts if done properly.  Don’t simply go to the meeting armed with business cards.  Obtain a list of attendees in advance.  Identify the people that you would like to meet – don’t forget those that might supply to your industry.  Once you’ve identified your key contacts for the evening, do some upfront research to find out more about them and the company they represent.  Armed with your “target” list and background info, you are now prepared to effectively network.
  • Follow-up immediately.  Once you have made a contact, do follow-up at once.  Drop a note in the mail, call and schedule a time to meet for coffee (or tea), or follow-up by email.  Include your resume in written correspondence.
  • Maintain contacts.  Share information, make referrals, and maintain your network even if you are not in the job market.

The extra effort is well worth it especially when it leads to you finding the job of your dreams!

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