Career Calling

September 11, 2013

Start Networking. Start Now.

One of my clients is very talented.  However, she was very hesitant about networking.  She thought no one would want to help somebody else get a job in a competitive market.

I asked her to start networking in a simple way:  Call the three people who are her references, let them know she is looking for work, and ask for advice.  Two days later she had an interview with a company much better than the one that laid her off.  Networking doesn’t always work this way.  Sometimes clients have done everything correctly, and networking brings no results.  That said, everyone should network, especially people who are looking for work.

Make a list of 10-20 people who know you as a professional. Here’s my suggestion about how you should ask for help:  “I want to call you because I’m looking for a new job.  You know me and how I work, and I’d appreciate it if you’d take a few minutes and give me some advice.  What do you think I should do in my job search?”

Keep the conversation open and listen carefully.  If a network contact gives you advice that is bad or useless, take it for what it is and be grateful for the time your contact has given you.  If the advice is good, follow up quickly and let your contact know that you’ve done so.  If your network connection suggests that you contact a certain person a potential employer, ask if you could use her name or if she will make an introduction.  Always end your conversations by finding out if there is any way you can help people in your network.

Networking isn’t easy, and it doesn’t always work.  However, a good network connection can lead you to jobs you didn’t know exist.  It can also open doors quickly.  Make networking part of your job search and career management strategy.  Start with those people who know you best, your references.  If you’re like my client, an interview with a great company can be in your future.

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