Sunday, September 30, 2007

Networking and Job Hunting: Don't Hate Yourself

Jason Jacobsohn once again gives excellent networking advice: start networking now while you have a job, so that when you need a job you can call on your network. Do it now, or you'll hate yourself later…

Many people only care about building and nurturing relationships when they
actually need someone. For most people, this is when a job is needed. Therefore,
I will focus this post on employment. I can’t tell you how many people who I
meet who just started the networking process because they needed a new job. It
takes time to build relationships so this is not the right approach.



Well, that's good advice, as far as it goes. What happens when you need a job and you really haven't built up much of a network? Hate yourself? Hardly. I found myself in much the same situation, and I discovered there are some very concrete ways you can build up your network:

  • You already know hundreds of people. Make a list of everyone you know. Your family, including your extended family. Your friends, including your extended friends. People from your Quaker meeting house. People from the PTA. The people you play pick-up basketball with. People you went to high school or college with. People who cut your hair or drill your teeth. People you worked with 6 years ago. People you work with today. You have hundreds of established relationships already. Stop thinking you don't know anybody.

  • There is untapped depth in your existing relationships. I recently found out that someone I know very well from church, school, and local politics is also a patent attorney. As you talk to your friends and family about your situation, ask them about theirs. You will be amazed at what you didn't know about them. Keep track of it by writing notes to yourself.

  • Know what you are about and what you want. Have a good elevator pitch. Rehearse it until you can say it in your sleep. Say it with a smile. Have your accomplishment stories ready. Have your bio and your resume ready. Have your business cards ready at all times. Give your business cards out freely (you should have a personal business card, in addition to the one your employer gives you). Follow-up with your bio. Send your resume only if you know they have a job they want to talk to you about. Look professional, be professional.

  • Get out, and stay out. There are a wealth of online tools for networking and job-seeking. If you spend more than an hour a day using them, you are wasting valuable time. Get up, call people, make appointments to meet, and get out of the house or the office.

  • Volunteer. One way to get out and about is to volunteer with your favorite non-profit. You will meet people with similar interests. Working together on a shared goal is a great way to meet people, who -- having seen what a great person/worker you are -- can then introduce you to their contacts.

  • Keep in touch. Follow-up with the people you meet to tell them how their advice or guidance worked out for you. Take them out to lunch. Ask them how they're doing. This builds relationships, and it also keeps you top-of-mind if something new comes along.

  • Be more than a job seeker. Learn to express your goal in a way that gets people charged up. You're not just looking for a job teaching math, you are excited about a new way to teach math and you want to learn from people in field about how it is done in different school districts, what are the critical success factors, etc. This gives you a chance to talk to virtually anyone teaching math or planning a math curriculum anywhere in the country. Not only that, as you talk to people, you start becoming the expert in this new approach to teaching math, increasing your visibility and your marketability as a potential math teacher.
So, yes, start networking before you have to look for your next job. Just don't sell yourself short, though, if you find yourself out on the pavement without a good network behind you. You already have what you need. Just promise yourself to keep networking once you have that next job.

"Job Hunting Experience"

3 comments:

Jason Jacobsohn said...

Great advice to help people leverage their existing networking when needing to find a job. I agree with you that most people already have a network built up even if they don't know it. Unless you are a hermit, you know people.

Delaware Job Hunters said...

Join us on May 6, 2009, from 8am-3pm at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for The Delaware Job Hunters Education and Networking Event. This important and timely event is being held to provide education to Delaware job seekers to improve their job search skills and gain a competitive edge in today’s job market. The event will also provide attendees the opportunity to meet with local companies to learn about job opportunities. This is a FREE event.

To register for the event call Joyce Dungee Proctor at 302-504-9922 or visit www.integritycareertransitions.com and click on seminars and choose the Delaware Job Hunters event to register.

Delaware Job Hunters said...

Join us on May 6, 2009, from 8am-3pm at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for The Delaware Job Hunters Education and Networking Event. This important and timely event is being held to provide education to Delaware job seekers to improve their job search skills and gain a competitive edge in today’s job market. The event will also provide attendees the opportunity to meet with local companies to learn about job opportunities. This is a FREE event.

To register for the event call Joyce Dungee Proctor at 302-504-9922 or visit www.integritycareertransitions.com and click on seminars and choose the Delaware Job Hunters event to register.