A Primary Resource During the Job Search is People
One of your most precious resources during a job search is people. You may have some strong feelings about "using people" and you may be reluctant to ask for help. After you complete your job search however, you will realise that the majority of the information which led you to your final destination came from people.
Remember! Using people as resources is distinct from taking inappropriate advantage of others. Using people effectively is the key to your finding a new situation in the most expeditious fashion.
Keep in mind the following realities:
No one owes you anything! Don't act as if you are entitled to help. When you are seeking free advice, take care not to inadvertently act as if you think, "People owe it. to me".
Every person you approach has their own preoccupations and worries! Be sensitive to others. If their response is not what you expect, it may have nothing to do with you. "Remember the networking contact I called on last month? I have just found out he has lost his job and his wife has cancer. No wonder he did not do much to help me as his world must have been falling apart."
- Most people want to help! Despite not owing you anything and with their own preoccupations, most people will go out of their way to be of assistance. Your responsibility is to approach them in the appropriate manner and to assist them in helping you.
- Approach people in a way that acknowledges that their time is limited. Arrange an appointment at a time and location which is best for them.
- Establish the length of your meeting in advance and hold to it.
- Effective networking does work! What most people term networking is only a pale approximation of the real thing. Put aside any preconceptions and past experiences, and learn how to make networking pay off for you.
- One of your goals is to spread the word of your availability to as many people as possible through energetic networking, you put the news of your candidacy into as many people's minds as possible, thereby increasing the chances of hearing about open positions.
- For those of you thinking, "I do not have ten people in my network", think again and be prepared to stretch your limits.
- List your contacts! Make a list of everyone you know…that is not an easy task. Start with the people with whom you are in current contact; then recall people with whom you have lost touch. Include people from all facets of your life: business, professional, and voluntary associations; social, community and religious organisations, University and school affiliations; Military Service. Don't forget customers (past and present), suppliers, lawyers, accountants, bankers, local merchants and relatives. Do NOT leave out someone because you assume he or she wouldn't be useful. You never know who might be very useful. This list now forms the foundation of your networking.
- Facilitate the networking discussion! Help your contact think about your request for his help and advice with your job search in broad terms. If his first reaction is, "I don't know anyone who fits that description", make it clear that you would value any kind of suggestion, however tangential. Cite examples of where someone led you to someone who in turn knew of someone else who had the information you needed. Intrigue them with this process in order to stretch their thinking.
- If no immediate ideas are forthcoming, forestall a negative response by suggesting your contact mull over your request for a day or two. Make specific arrangements to follow up your call, in a way that leaves no doubt that you will. And then do it!
Do not rely solely on social media. Person to person contact is still the most powerful way to obtain information to get the job or career that you want.
"When one door closes another opens, but all too often there is a long hallway in between" - Rick Jarrow