For those job seekers that don’t already know, developing and leveraging a network of friends and professionals is one of the most effective methods–aside from group job hunting–for finding and obtaining the job that is just right. However, there are ways to approach your network to make it work for you. So let’s review three critical steps
Step #1: Start Now–Even if You Aren’t Actively Searching
This is an absolute necessity! It is also the area in which most job seekers fail miserably. Think about it. To use a network, you need to have a network in place. This takes time, and lots of it. If you are out of a job today, it can take months to cultivate a network that can start to work for you. For most people, several months is much too long to wait to secure a new position. So, instead, you find most job seekers out there stuck with posting their resume online because they quickly realize that they do not have a network in place at all.
For those of you reading this that are employed today, start now. There are a lot of resources available to you to help manage your contacts: LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, NoddlePlace, and a whole host of social networking sites. Or you can simply have a list of names and numbers in your PDA or in your daytimer. However you manage it, start collecting names, numbers, and email addresses of friends, colleagues, clients, vendors, and co-workers. Then start a routine in which you touch base with them every so often: often enough to stay connected but not so often that you are burdensome. The more social your interaction in nature while you are employed, the easier it will be to discuss professional opportunities when the time comes.
Step #2: What Not to Do When the Time Comes
The biggest mistake the job seekers make when it does come time to tap into their network is to ask for a job. That is the one thing that will absolutely turn off even those ready and willing to help you. There is something about desperation that makes people want to slink away or, at best, say that they will let you know if they hear anything.
Step #3: How to Work Your Network
There are ways of interacting with others encourages them to help you. Of course, not popping up out of the blue and asking for a job is a good start. You can simply tell your network what it is your pursuing and ask whether they know anyone that you should contact. This engages them in a professional manner and makes them want to gather and impart information to help you in your search. Most people will gladly be forthcoming, tap their on sphere of influence, and begin generating leads for you.
So what are you waiting for? Start building your contact base and networking with them today! You will be well positioned for your next job search.
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