One of the most intimidating challenges for most people in their job search networking is to make “cold calls” to people they don’t know.
For many, the thought strikes fear in their hearts, it paralyzes them, and it’s why they don’t “buy into” the necessity of networking in their job search.
Calling someone without any connection to them can, at times, be intimidating even for great sales people. A job search is a sales process! However, for someone that never wanted to be in sales, it can feel worse.
Can you be an effective job networker without having to make cold calls? You bet! Here’s how…
Keep adding links to your chain! While calling someone without a “connecting” point may be tough, calling someone through someone else’s referral is certainly much easier. Your objective with each networking call, conversation, or meeting is to get additional names of people to connect to.
While you’re certainly interested in hearing about job leads… never ask for them! People are not walking job boards and it’s highly unlikely that they would know of an appropriate opening for you off the top of their head. When you ask about a job, the conversation usually becomes silent and awkward. People generally want to help, and as soon as they realize you’re in a job hunt, they’re likely to tell you about jobs if they know of one. However, what doesn’t usually occur to them, is that you want additional people to talk to. Giving them another option often gets you more results!
Successful networking is like building a chain. Connect one link to another, to another, and to another until you land on one that may have the right opportunity for you. If your networking is focused on asking for a couple of additional contacts from each person you talk to, you will have an endless supply of “warm call” you can make.
How to ask… Start with people you know: family, friends, neighbors, former co-workers, other parents on your kids sports teams, your accountant, hairdresser, dry cleaner, and anyone else you can think of. Let them know you’re in a job hunt and make your objective clear…
“Networking really is the best way to find a new job, however, it’s tough sometimes to reach out to people I don’t know. The best way is for me to call people based on referrals from others. I’d really be grateful for any names of other people you think might be worthwhile for me to talk to. People that seem well connected themselves, people in my field or industry, people that you might know at one of my target company’s like ABC Corp, or XYZ, Inc., or people that you might reach out to if you were in my situation.”
How to make the warm call… Once you have a name, or two, or ten… it’s no longer necessary to call someone without a connection. It’s much easier to pick up the phone and say something like…
“Hi _______, my name is _________. I was talking to __________ recently and they suggested I connect with you regarding the networking I’m doing for my job search. Did I catch you at a good time?
Then give a brief elevator speech about yourself, and ask for further referrals in the same way you asked your previous acquaintance!
Keep building your chain, and soon you will find yourself talking to someone that says… “Actually… I know of a position that may be a great fit for you!”
All done without having to make a single cold call!
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