Dorothy, The biggest question and stumbling block I have is networking. If you could address this subject in a useable fashion in your article, that would be very helpful to job seekers like myself.
Hi T-y, thank you for your question/request. Let me do two things. First, to reference an article on my blog I did recently on networking and then I’ll expand from there.
This article basically outlines the basics for developing a network. For a job seeker to make use of the network here are some additional tips:
- You have to think strategically about your network and who some of them are to ensure you get the maximum effect. Go to events that will be rich in the type of people likely to be connected to the places you are targeting to work for. Example: If you have a technology background consider going to IEEE or SW Engineering group. If your work is more general like clerical or administrative, then go to business oriented group. Also, look into www.meetup.com for your local area for groups that might be business oriented or more specific topics.
- Remember what I said about your network. You have to give before you receive. That means you can’t just get someone’s business card and expect something from them immediately, unless your conversation indicated differently. In order for your network to yield you good job leads, it will take some time but it will be worth it. After you meet someone new, email the next day and suggest coffee or a time to get better acquainted. If that is too much time to spend, consider simply sending a note as a follow up to keep your name familiar to them. Then consider putting them on a “schedule” for you to simply touch bases, inquire if they will be at the next meeting, or send them an interesting article.
- At some point you will want to ask your network “Who do you know that works for X Company?” or something similar. If you do, ask them if they would feel comfortable introducing you to them. Your goal is to find the “sphere of influence” in the target companies you want to work for. Once there, you can ask for an information interview.
- Beware of job seeker networking groups. Not that they are bad but you need to check them critically for the following: 1- that they aren’t a “gripe session” and 2- they are sharing their network. Job seekers can get kind of protective of job leads, network contacts and in a negative space so you need to discern the nature of job seeker networking groups.
- Keep in mind the old saying “It’s who you know”. If you look at your own job history and that of others you know you will discover that most people get their job leads through people they know. You don’t ask your network “Can you get me a job?” It’s too blunt and most people can’t get you a job. They can be only a couple of layers between you and the decision maker at a company you want to work for.
- Lastly, think of your networking as a living “resource list”. Right now, they are a resource for people you may want to know for job leads but as you become employed they become a resource for a good plumber, restaurant or services. YOU are also a resource, so you need to be thinking of what resources you have that you can share. I read somewhere that the better a person is at connecting people to other people; the more successful they are professionally and personally. I think that applies.
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Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a Career Coach and expert on helping her clients achieve their goals. Her programs cover: Career growth and enhancement, Career Change, Retirement Alternatives and Job Search Strategy. Want to discover specific career change strategies that get results? Discover how by claiming your FREE gift, Career Makeover Toolkit at: http://CareerMakeoverToolKitShouldIstayorShouldIGo.com/
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