Summary: Here are the top 7 ways to network your way to a new job by leveraging your personal networks.
I had a new college grad in my office just the other day looking for a start in sales. Since I didn’t have a sales position open, I asked him what he had done so far in his job search. He told me that he’d responded to some ads, but so far he was unsuccessful in finding a good opportunity.
“Matt,” I said, “If you’re serious about your job search, you need to learn how to leverage the personal networks of other people. I use this skill all the time when I recruit. You’ll get lots of mileage out of this in sales, also.”
“What do you mean by ‘leverage personal networks?’” He leaned forward in his chair, pen ready.
Leveraging Personal Networks
Your personal job search network is nothing more than the span of people you are familiar with. My personal network includes all the people I work with at my company, people I attend church with, parents I know from little league, vendors who call me, etc. Each of us knows lots of people.
Most people already know how to contact people they already know. Very few, however, know how to tap into the personal networks of other people. That’s what I’m going to teach in this article.
The Benefits of Expanding Your Personal Network
Job seekers who learn and apply this skill will shorten their job search by weeks or months. Here’s why:
- You will uncover positions that aren’t being advertised. Your competition for the jobs will be much smaller or even non-existent.
- You come to the hiring manager with a recommendation from someone they trust. This is an immediate credibility-builder.
- Entering the interview process this way demonstrates drive and tenacity that is rare to find in today’s entitlement culture. Hiring managers respect these qualities, and this will push you ahead of the pack (if there is one).
How to Expand Your Job Search Network
It’s not as hard as it sounds. Don’t be afraid! You can do this.
The most successful recruiters, sales people, and job seekers are aggressive and know how to build new personal networks on the fly. As a Recruiting Manager, if I only talked to people I knew, I would run out of contacts very quickly. I have to build new contacts daily and learn how tap into the networks of other people. That’s what I’m going to show you how to do.
Network Building Tip #1: You must be brave. Most people won’t reject you if you approach them correctly.
Network Building Tip #2: Begin with the people you know. Make a list of them. Repeat: Make a LIST of the people you know. Be stubborn about this. And be methodical.
Network Building Tip #3: Call everyone on your list. If you were looking for a sales job, you’d say something like, “Hey, Bob, I’m wondering if I can get some advice from you. I feel like I’m topping out where I am, and I’m thinking about a move into sales. Who do you know that I could talk to about a career in sales?”
Notice you are not asking Bob “Who can give me a job?” You’re just asking him to give you the names and numbers of people he knows that might be connected to sales people in some way. I’ve found that people like to help other people when they can, and they love to be asked to give advice. Most people will respond positively if you ask them for help or advice.
Network Building Tip #4: Make a list of the names you gather from this process. Watch as your personal network expands rapidly. Your goal is to get two to four names from each contact in your list. Repeat: Make a LIST!
Network Building Tip #5: Begin to call people you DON’T KNOW. This is where most candidates fall down. Most are afraid to make this call. If you succumb to fear, you are resigning yourself to a long and competitive job hunt. Remember: Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are UNwilling to do.
Here’s an easy approach: “Hi Mr. Johnson, I apologize for this call out of the blue, but I was talking to Bob Hoskins the other day, and he recommended that I contact you. He said you knew a lot about the sales industry, and that you might be able to answer some questions I have about it. I’m thinking about a change to a sales career, and I was wondering if we could talk for a few minutes later this week?” Schedule an appointment. You’ve just landed yourself a job interview, even if Mr. Johnson doesn’t realize it.
Network Building Tip #5: Milk Mr. Johnson for his contacts during your meeting with him, the same way you did with Bob Hoskins. Ask him how he got his start in sales. Ask him for advice on your career search. Try to get at least two contacts from him. Watch your network of contacts grow. BUILD YOUR WRITTEN LIST.
Rinse and repeat until you are sitting in front of someone who is trying to fill a position. Eventually, you’ll get there. Sometimes it doesn’t take any time at all.
Network Building Tip #7: Be persistent and consistent. Set a goal with yourself to call at least X people per day or week in this process. Build your list, mine your list, work your list. Be tenacious. If you follow this process, you will impress potential employers, make new friends, and get a great offer much sooner than sitting back answering the ads like the masses.
Remember, to be successful, you must be willing to do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. If you do this, you’ll have very few competitors and a much higher success rate.
See the following articles for more information:Job Networking Tips (Top 7 Ways to Network Your Way to a New Job) by Granted Contributor