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5 Tips for Successful Job Search Networking

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7975205041_74f85a53a9_oAs you add contacts (or renew old contacts) during your job search, you should also “refresh” your relationships on a regular basis while looking for a job. This is important for everyone, but especially if you are currently unemployed.

The “refresh” approach for each contact will depend on the nature of the relationship. For friends, relatives and business acquaintances, it is as easy as reminding them that you’re out there looking for a job. If they know you they already know that you are looking for a job, so a simple email (or phone call) will usually suffice. For recruiters, a phone call (asking them if they have any leads) or an email (maybe with an updated resume or a brief on any pending interviews) should do the trick.

While there are no hard and fast rules for job search networking, there are a few guidelines you should consider:

Recruiters

  • Recruiters who already know you – Refreshing your relationships should be easy. A phone call or email letting them know that you are actively looking for a job should suffice.  If using email, you should include a brief overview of your job search parameters as well as a recent copy of your resume.  Followup with a phone call in a week.  Once the relationship is reestablished, a once per month email should be fine.  Do not stalk your recruiters, it will not help.
  • New Recruiters – If you are reaching out to a new recruiter, include detailed information on your background, details on your search criteria and an updated resume (a very specific form of a cover letter or introductory letter).  Suggest that you will call within the next week to review your background.

 

Current Connections

  • Friends & Family: This group is your most important support and networking group. These people know you the best and are the most likely to help leverage their connections to help you find a job. Make sure these contacts are current.  Phone calls, emails and maybe a quick coffee will work.
  • Former Colleagues: While the group above know you the best as an individual, former colleagues know what you do and how you do it. Their recommendations will be the most important and their leads and connections are the most likely to fit your career requirements. Make sure you connect with them, give them a summary of your job requirements.

 

New Connections

  • Former Colleagues (who may not know you) – The best source for this is LinkedIn, where you can look at all contacts across an organization.  Another source (and probably the better strategy) are the contacts you already have from former employers.  Look at their contacts for some leads. If possible, ask your contacts to introduce you to those former colleagues you do not know first hand.
  • People who don’t know you – These are people that you will meet at networking events, industry trade groups, job search support groups and career fairs. Try to join those groups that make the most sense for you.

Some links to networking which provide a few views/tactics for keeping your network “fresh”.

  • Riley Guide on Networking – This article from the Riley Guide provides an excellent review of networking. What it is, how to do it and what it isn’t. The article provides a number of additional links on associated topics.
  • Successful Job Search Networking – This About.com article provides another view on networking (formal versus informal) as well as a long list of additional resources. The article mentions that 60% of all jobs are filled via networking (I’ve heard as high as 80% as well).
  • The Art of Career and Job-Search Networking – Quintcareers also has a page dedicated to networking and they also stress that this is probably the most important part of your search methods. They provide detail on networking on the web, networking groups (like Diversity, Women, Military, etc.) as well as some publications on the topic.
  • The Social Network as a Career Safety Net – This NY Times article provides a real-life example of how social networking helped someone find other opportunities. While the current job market environment is likely to make it more difficult than the success of the individual in the article, it does stress the importance of networking.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
Joey

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