Monday, August 2, 2010

Job Search, Day 12 - The Power of Networking

On July 22nd, my fiancee convinced me that, if jobs could be found, I should hunt for them. On the 23rd, she sent me a list of jobs to look at. Smart lady, that fiancee of mine.

Last Friday, I received expressions of interest from four companies. Two of these, I found through Jobs In the Valley, a local jobs site. One was a short term job through Craig's List, and the fourth is through a friend of mine who is the officer manager of the company.

At both of the two through Jobs in the Valley which are showing potential, I knew the person in charge of the hiring through previous networking of business activity.

You will notice a trend here. Of the four jobs that are showing good potential, three of them have some kind of personal connection. As they say, it is not what you know, it is who you know. You might be thinking that's great for Michael Whitehouse, a compulsive networker, but what does that mean to you, Mr. or Ms. Reader?

There is no secret to knowing people. You just have to meet them. How do you meet them? Call them up and ask to meet with them. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it is. Find people who are working in fields that you would like to work in. Not sure where to find them? Ask your friends who they know in the field. Check LinkedIn to see who is in your extended network. You do have a Linkedin account, right?

Once you identify people that it would be good for you to meet with, contact them. I recommend the phone for this contact. Tell them who you are and that you would love to sit down with them for 15 minutes to get their advice on your search. Tell them that you chose them because you know that they are knowledgeable and well connected, and you knew that they could help you.

No one is going to argue with that kind of assessment of themselves, and most people like to be able to help people. It's a great ego boost, and it works well for you because once you meet with them, their ego gets tied up in your success. If they can help you, they feel better about themselves.

When you meet with them, remember, this is not a job interview. You are not trying to get them to give you a job. You just want to get whatever valuable advice you can from them. It is possible that they may decide to call someone on your behalf or even offer you a job, but don't expect it.

Send a thank you note. An email one immediately, a paper one by snail mail right after. Thank you notes are rare in business these days, and yours will stand out.

If you are searching for a job, good luck. It's a tough world, but as they say, the harder you work, the luckier you get. Now, get up and find that job.

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