What is networking anyway? Plain and simple: networking is about relationships! Don’t be turned off by the term. Learn how to use your existing relationships to help you network.
Here’s how to use your relationships to acquire information that will help your job search.
Your Existing Network (aka Friends, Family, neighbors, colleagues, etc)
Let’s keep it simple. You already have a list of people you know. These are your friends, family, neighbors or the people you know well. This is your current network. These people care about you and your well-being. Have you ever asked any of them for the name of a good electrician, or what kind of car they drive or their favorite restaurant? Why? Because the thought of pulling a name out of directory is risky. You want something reliable at a fair price and you trust the recommendation of someone you know. Right?
What you were doing was looking for information! You were looking for their help!
Now use these people to help you! These are a few ideas:
- Tell them specifically what type of job you are looking for and ask if their company is hiring or they know of a company hiring for that role.
- Ask for their recommendation on good companies to work for.
- Ask if they know anyone who works inside a company you are interested in working for or are about to apply to.
Your Extended Professional Network
This network is comprised of people you may have only interacted with professionally. They could be vendors, suppliers, customers or even competitors. They could be people you have served on committees with. You do have a relationship with these people. If you called any of them on the phone they would recognize your name! Have you ever asked anyone in this set of connections for advice, recommendations, information? If so, you’ve networked!
Try asking them these questions:
- What companies are growing right now?
- What skills do you need to highlight to be in-demand in their field?
- Is there anyone else you would suggest I speak to for more information on what’s happening in our field?
Who Else Do You Need In Your Network?
We all can benefit from growing our network. So who are the people you want to meet? Create a list of people you would like to meet. They could be movers and shakers in your industry. It could be a person whose name comes up frequently in conversation. Here is some help: Tips for creating your networking bucket list
As you write down names, also write down WHY you want to meet these people.
Networking is so misunderstood!
I keep writing about networking because it is so misunderstood by those new to job search. If you consider yourself to be the owner of your own business (Me, Inc!) then maybe you would understand the power and importance of building a more targeted network.