Build Your Rolodex of Networking Contacts
By: Linda Matias
How important is networking in your job search? Take a look at the
astonishing numbers surrounding how job hunters ultimately become gainfully
employed. 14% of job hunters get jobs through newspaper classifieds.
13% of job hunters get jobs through employment agencies.
5% of job hunters get jobs through career services on college campuses.
NEARLY 64% OF JOB HUNTERS GET JOBS THROUGH NETWORKING!
Does this mean that you should concentrate only on networking and neglect
all other resources available to you? The answer is NO. An effective job
campaign is well-rounded and does not rely on any one method to achieve
results. The numbers are provided as a guide for you to recognize how much
time should be spent on each activity. Most job hunters limit their job
search to looking through classified ads. That is a big mistake. As you can
see, the bulk of job search activity should be spent networking.
Most job hunters purposely neglect networking because they feel it can be
uncomfortable and believe it takes too much effort-and they are right. A
job search can have its uncomfortable moments-especially when you are
unprepared-and looking for a job is in itself a full-time job. The process
could be less intimidating if you (1) are committed, (2) get organized, and
(3) start your search with an action plan. To make networking work for you,
let's take a look at your options and how to prepare your contacts to help
Make a list of all the people you know and split the list into three
1. Business Contacts
These are individuals who know your industry. They have contacts of their
own and they can make phone calls on your behalf. Their main function is to
help you gain employment in your chosen field.
2. Support System
Identify those individuals on your contact list who would not necessarily
be able to help you land a job, but who are capable of helping you in your
job search in another capacity: as a sounding board.
3. Don't Waste Your Time
Differentiate between who can help you and who can't. Don't spend energy on
the contacts who mean well but are not in a position to help you. A good
networking contact is one who has the resources to help you and is willing
to share them.
Preparing Your Business Contacts
Once a contact agrees to help you in your job search, it is important that
you properly prepare him. Your contact must be armed with information
concerning your immediate and long-term goals and a copy of your résumé (on
Example: "Hey John, if you hear of a job opening in the IT field, keep me
in mind" is just not enough. Educate your contact on what specific job
titles, companies, and locations you are considering. Be as specific as you
can. When your contact agrees to help you, DON'T stop there. Ask them a
follow-up question. An example would be, "Thanks, John, for agreeing to
show my résumé around. I really appreciate it. Can I ask you a question? In
the circles that you run in, who might you think would be able to help me?"
Guiding your contact into thinking of potential opportunities can get the
ball rolling. Empty promises will not get you results. Educated"yeses" will.
Preparing Your Support Network
Carefully choose the individuals who are going to help you through
emotionally. Creating a team of unsupportive players will undoubtedly make
your job search that much more difficult. Let your supporters know how it
is that they can help you. If you don't want unsolicited advice, let them
know. Prepare them to be the motivators you need.
Example: "John, thanks for agreeing to be part of my support system. I
wanted to share with you my feelings regarding the job search process and
how I see you fitting in. At times I may just need to ramble and vent and I
just need a friendly shoulder to lean on. I will not be necessarily looking
for answers, but rather a sympathetic ear. Do you think you will be able to
help me out on this?"
Make a conscious choice as to whom you are going to confide in. Make sure
that they have the following characteristics: supportive, non-judgmental,
positive, a motivator, a sense of humor, and reliable.
Realize You Are Job Hunting ALL of the Time . whether you realize it or
not. Companies have job openings constantly and your contacts often are
aware of these opportunities. When you freely discuss your negative work
habits, two things are likely to occur: your contacts will know of a
"hidden" opportunity and will not feel comfortable referring you, and when
you are actively looking for employment, you will be surprised at how many
of your contacts will not return your phone calls.
© 2005, Linda Matias. All rights in all media reserved.
Career Coach Inc. is run by Linda Matias and Bryan Cadicamo where their
objective is twofold: to coach professionals during the interview process
and those who are in a career transition and are looking to reawaken or
discover their life's passion. To learn more visit www.careercoachinc.com
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org