A Key to an Effective Job Search: Networking
August 10, 2010 by Joyce Richman
Networking is key to an effective job search. If you want it to work so you can go to work, use it, don’t abuse it. Here are a few scenarios that describe networking, done badly:
I asked my friend if she would help me look for a job. She said, “Sure, what do you need?” And I said, “I just told you, I need you to help me look for a job.” And she said, “Are you kidding me? Like you want me to go online and look for a job for you? And I said, “yes.” I haven’t heard back from her since. Some friend.
I asked my Dad’s friend if he would be a reference for me. He owns a business and I thought his name would look good to some of the people who would be reviewing my resume. Instead of his agreeing to, he actually asked me to tell him what I’m looking for, and when I didn’t do a great job of it, he said that I didn’t sound very sure of myself and that I needed to practice more before I started looking. Can you imagine that? I told my Dad that he didn’t have a very good friend.
I’ve been networking for a year now and it hasn’t done anything for me. I go to all kinds of social events and tell everyone within ear-shot that I’m looking for a job. Hello? It hasn’t gotten me anywhere. What’s with these people?
Here are some examples of networking done well:
I told my friend that I was looking for a job and described what the right opportunity would look like. I asked her if she’d be willing to brainstorm with me for just a few minutes about where the possibilities might be and who might know about them. She jumped right on it. Because we have so much in common she was quick to mention which of our mutual friends might be helpful and a few friends of hers, whom I didn’t know, who could be helpful as well. She was a great help and motivator, and I told her so.
I asked my dad if he thought any of his business friends would be willing be serve as a reference for me. He mentioned two, both of whom I’ve known for years. I called each, asked for an appointment, both agreed to see me and both meetings followed the same course of action. I was asked to describe the kinds of jobs I was going for and why I thought I’d be a good candidate. I had practiced so I was ready: I described what I do well and enjoy doing, how that’s benefited my past employers and how I can add value to current and future employers. It not only worked, I got to use their names as references, and each of them gave me names and phone numbers of people they know, who might know of something for me. I really appreciated their time and their help, and told them so.
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Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com)been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.