Interacting with people in your life and that you come across can be a great way to get leads on new opportunities and job offers in your local area.
Through our training systems you can easily understand the job market and get better at identifying targets for networking. They will be easy to identify. Networking is a method for connecting with unpublished openings available through contacts.
It involves getting others to:
- Act as a reference or suggest referrals
- Contact employers or recommend recruiters
- Supply information or make introductions
Networking is Another Way to Go After Unpublished Jobs
There is nothing like having good personal contacts. However, people who rely too much on them may be in for a long search. This section has some thoughts on making the most of your old contacts and even building new ones from a zero base.
Networking involves getting others to act as a reference, suggest referrals, contact employers, recommend recruiters, supply information and make introductions. It's the most popular way to get a new job. It is essential because it can so dramatically increase your contacts and your chances for finding out about unadvertised jobs.
Networking involves using contacts to assist in your job search. By networking effectively, your phone presence, personality and follow-through can substitute for a lack of the right experience.
There is a big difference between focused networking, which is targeted by industry or involves influential people, and universal networking, which may be purely social. The latter can take a long time.
Networking works because every organization experiences turnover. That's why jobs are available with far more organizations over the course of a year than most people realize. Focused networking has to do with quickly finding specific industry people who can offer you a job.
The greater the number of people in your network, the greater your access to other groups. Contacts may include former employers, suppliers, business associates, priests, rabbis, ministers, alumni, community contacts, insurance agents, bankers, merchants, friends, relatives, teachers, trade association officers, attorneys, clients, etc.
People often think that their existing contacts will make job hunting easy. This rarely turns out to be true. Let your campaign get under way with other approaches. If you are like most people, you may refine your goals.
Pyramiding refers to capitalizing on the name of one individual to gain an interview with another. For example, if you were meeting with one firm, and you felt that the interview would not be productive, you could lead into a discussion about another firm. You would then ask your interviewer whether or not he felt that it would be a firm for you to explore. He's likely to routinely say, "Of course, you ought to contact them." Next you would write the president of the new firm something like the following, "In my recent meeting with Mr. X, he suggested that it might be of value if I arranged to speak with you."
(1) Network Through Influential People
Politicians at almost any level can be excellent sources for referrals. The same is true for prominent doctors and lawyers who speak with many people during the course of each day.
Clergymen, accountants, hospital trustees, members of the Chamber of Commerce or other civic groups, members of industrial development boards, investment bankers, insurance brokers, and many others also fall into this category.
Younger people should think of an influential as anyone who might have influence on your obtaining a job offer. For example, if you were an engineer interested in a particular firm, you could call and ask to be connected to the engineering department.
You could then explain your situation to the person who answers, and ask for a referral to someone who would take a few minutes to speak with you. Most people are eager to help others, and it is easy to develop a network of new contacts.
(2) Network Through Business Activities and Associations
You can expand your business network by dining in restaurants patronized by those in your field, or attending seminars, parties and supplier meetings. Anything you can do to gain visibility will result in easier initiation of new contacts. Taking an active role in community affairs, politics and service clubs, along with speaking at seminars and trade associations, will serve as a means of accomplishing the same end.
Trade shows can be an efficient medium for developing contacts. In one location you usually have dozens of people assembled, and all of them are there because they want to talk to people.
One imaginative sales manager visited each major hotel where conventioneers were staying. He met dozens of people in both hotel lobbies and hospitality suites. As it turned out, the informal atmosphere paved the way for his development of contacts with those who could help him. Within days he had lined up all the interviews he needed.
Many professional organizations, alumni and trade associations act as intermediaries between job hunters and employers. Most groups operate as "resume clearing houses." In general, professional organizations are most effective for younger people.
The executive directors of associations, Chambers of Commerce, and fraternal organizations such as Toastmasters International or the Jaycees usually have many "lines" into their communities. They know where growth is occurring.
Professional groups also fund and manage business magazines, journals, newsletters, memberships lists, industry directories, trade show catalogs and many other publications. The editors at these journals can be influential contacts.
Exhibitor directories at trade shows can provide a list of firms in a given field and provide names of people to contact. The Encyclopedia of Associations is a source for the names and addresses of thousands of these organizations.
(3) Network Through Advice Letters... from a Zero Base
We don't advise this for professionals, managers or executives. However, if you are at a junior level or seeking your first civilian job, you may wish to encourage suggestions from senior executives concerning the direction of your career.
You could even consider seeking advice by writing top executives with whom you are not personally acquainted. Of course, your "advice letter" would have to be well phrased. You must convey your respect for their authority and expertise on these matters in an appealing way.
The object of this approach is to have them take more than a passing interest in your success. During any discussions you should also lay the groundwork for additional phone contact during your job search. Your goal would be to obtain job leads in their firms or those of their associates.
Many people say it is not really difficult to make new acquaintances starting from a zero base. A technique for doing this is what is commonly called the "insider approach." Take the case of a young woman interested in working for a photocopy company. She could call a salesperson and ask, "Is there a chance you could help me?" She could then ask the person to spend a few minutes to give her an estimate of her chances for getting into the firm.
Once a first meeting is accomplished, it's easy to get a third-party introduction to a person who might be responsible for recruitment. By the way, the person contacted doesn't have to be a salesperson. It can be anyone who might be a decision-maker at your level of interest.
Starting with an existing employee is an easy way to get in the door if you think an opening is likely to exist. This "insider approach" has also worked for more advanced professionals as well.
(4) Consider These Networking Tips
Getting through to people and making arrangements to see them isn't the victory. That comes only after you've completed a successful interview. Do your homework and be prepared. Know what you want to say and practice it first. Decide what strengths or achievements you want to get across.
Most people today know when they're "being networked." That doesn't mean they won't help you. It only means you shouldn't try to fool them.
Use your network right the first time around; they may also be needed in the future. Talk with people wherever you go work, church, association meetings, casual get-togethers. Let people know that you are thinking about a new opportunity.
Networking is part of the "job" of looking for a job. List the people you might want to get to see, and find a way to get someone to help you to them. Remember to keep your interviews brief. Ask for 10-minute appointments. If you are likely to forget your questions, try keeping them in a notebook.
Try to leave every meeting with several more new names and, of course, always remember the names of receptionists and secretaries. Send a thank-you note after your interview.
Exchange business cards with those you meet. Follow every lead. Making judgment calls about a contact prior to any discussion may short-circuit the networking process.
Your primary network list should include your last employer's competition, because you are probably worth more to them than anyone else. Remember, networking is a proven way to search for a new job. Whenever you don't have other actions to take, you should be expanding your contacts.
Summarizing Our Approach for Networking
Recognize that focused networking is easier than you think, and a very effective way to find a new job. It primarily involves finding industry people that can refer you to situations. Consider networking through interactions with influential people, business activities, associations and advice letters.
Start by drawing up a list of all potential networking sources. Be sure to organize your networking records, follow our networking tips and be ready with the right questions to ask. Distinguish between networking strangers and your most important resources your personal contacts. Select people who will be your best supporters and make your request sound important.
You can build contacts from a zero base by using the "insider approach." Also, remember that people can act as a reference, write a letter, email a message, make an introduction, offer information on a firm or industry, recommend recruiters they know or contact employers on your behalf.