Network to Find a Job
Networking rests on the basic principle that busi¬ness, jobs and careers are built on personal relationships; its true purpose is to get AIR: Advice, Information and Referrals.
The first step in the process is to identify WHO can help. Prepare a list including all the people you know. Then consider all the people they know. Add to the list every day. Keep track of who referred you and how people are connected to each other.
Next, decide WHAT you want. There should be no mystery or hidden agenda as to the purpose of the conversation. Consider the following sample approaches to potential contacts:
- To a Geographic contact: "You have lived in this city for so long and know almost everyone..."
- To a socially active friend: "You have so many friends, you probably hear about things before anyone..."
- To someone who works in your field: "You've been working in the same type of job I am looking for, I am sure you have some idea how my skills might be viewed..."
- To a professor: "You know better than anyone what kinds of jobs are open in this field..."
- To anyone you admire: "You always seem to have good ideas..."
- To someone you have helped: "We have helped each other in the past, so I am hoping you can help me now..."
It is reasonable to expect:
- referrals to others who can help you
- feedback about resumes, cover letters and approach
- reactions to your ideas and theories
- assistance in formulating plans
- moral support
It is NOT reasonable to expect A JOB will be handed to you!
Most people do not know of many current job openings. If the first and only question posed to your contacts is "Do you know of any openings?" you will more often than not receive a NO and an opportu¬nity may be lost. By asking questions like "What do you do and what alternatives are out there?" or “Where do you see someone with my skills fitting in?” or “Do you know anyone who works at X?” you will uncover information which will eventually generate job leads and preserve your relation¬ships.