A full job search strategy is made up of a number of separate pieces. Networking is one of the most important in order to find out what’s going on in the marketplace, the location of open positions, who might be able to help you and how to best approach the organization. You need to sharpen your networking skills to be a major presence.
There are certain things to avoid or do better. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- Don’t market yourself based on what you want, but rather what the organizations needs
- Don’t use the electronic medium exclusively. It‘s impersonal and mechanical. The Internet should be no more than 40% of your effort. Balance it with face-to-face meetings, phone contacts, referrals and group participation. The human touch will always trump the robotic.
- Prioritize your contacts list: High, medium and low potential. The highest priorities are those who can help you the most either by their level, contacts, knowledge or influence
- Broaden out your search focus with a mix of sectors: For-profit, non-profit, and public. There are very attractive jobs that can give you expanded experiences in all sectors, not just one
- Seek out tangent functions to your primary search target. Identify functions that are a derivative of your primary search area.
- Use indirect contacts from friends and acquaintances. Friends-of-friends increase your reach and can expand your contacts three-fold. Ask your friends who they know that can help you.
- Associations, school alumni and organizations are excellent connections, especially in your field of expertise. School mates in the same business will know of opportunities
- If you can’t list at least 100 contacts, you’re not looking hard enough. Start with high school and college, friends, neighbors and past work associates. Those that know you best are in the most influential position to help. Sometimes the parents of a friend are good conduits.
When making contact through your networks, don’t lead off with a request for a job. Ask about their industry trends and what’s going on. Lead with your interest in their industry and not about your needs. The conversation will drift to your situation. Start out by indicating that you’re researching different industries to find the greatest opportunities in your field of expertise.
Keep the discussion broad and don’t discard any opportunity. To say you’re only looking into accounts payable is too limiting. Rather, say you’re. “…an accounting professional who likes to problem-solve financial solutions to business issues”. People you haven’t seen in 20 years may know of the perfect job for you but may not be aware that you’re available. Reconnect and let them help you. Someday you may be able to help them.
Contact Bill Kaufmann with questions, comments or resume review: firstname.lastname@example.org