BEST PLACE TO START JOB NETWORKING
You know that networking is the best way to find a new job. So where do you start?
The best place to begin is with your “warm contacts”. A warm contact is a person with whom you have some personal connection and is willing to help you in your search. They can help by offering information about current job openings, business opportunities, and introductions to influencers or people at their company. They just might have some great tips on looking for a job. Begin your job networking by building a list of warm contacts who might be willing to help.
Family and friends should always be first on your list of warm contacts. They are always willing to help or to give advice. This group may be able to give you information on job openings at their employers. Ask if they would walk your resume into the hiring manager you’d likely report to in their company. Family and friends are also more willing to refer you to others and they in turn will be more willing to help you. You get to borrow some of their credibility and trust in these kinds of networking introductions. Their referrals will take your calls and respond to your emails more readily than other types of job networking referrals. Be careful not to take advantage for their goodwill. Simply ask for their help to connect you to others.
THE OLD WATER COOLER
Former employers or coworkers are also an important addition on your warm contact list. This is one of the reasons why you want to leave a job on good terms. A potential employer will call past employers to see what kind of an employee you were and why you no longer work there. Past employers can also give you information on their competitors and industry players. This kind of job networking intelligence is invaluable to your job search. When you ask family and friends about job and hiring information it can very well be second hand or even rumors. But when you ask someone who is in the same field as you, like a past employer, they will be able to give you firsthand information or clear up any questions you might have.
People who share the same beliefs and hobbies as you are often willing to help you with your job search. Members of the church, political party, fraternity, or sorority usually will help you with your job networking. Their inside knowledge of potential connections can help you build a strategy on how to approach them and ask them for their help.
PAY ME NOW… PAY ME LATER
Another type of person you should have on your warm contact list is someone you pay to provide a service or a product. Think about people who you helped sell a product or service to a former employer. Even people who provide you with personal services; i.e… lawn, health care, hair styling, cosmetics, supplements, whatever you purchase on a regular basis… these are all people you should put on your warm list. You may think that your relationship doesn’t extend past the business you have together, but more than likely they will be willing to help you do some job networking. These people know that maintaining a stable relationship is crucial to their business with you. They are a good source because they know a lot of different people and deal with them every day. Your vendors, both professional and personal, could be able to refer you to someone they know in the same field as you.
Don’t forget to add your professional association’s officers and executives to your warm contacts list. The purpose of these organizations is to support businesses and people in their industry. They want their members to be successful and active. They also know everyone else in the organization. Their high profile in your field gives them useful inside information about companies in the industry. Research your local chapter and be sure to add the offices and any paid directors or administrators to your warm contact list.
MORE STRATEGIC OPTIONS
These are the most important people you want to include in your job networking plan. You want to build your warm contact list with them. Your warm contacts are the people who will give you the most options in your job search.
What others do you think should be added to your warm contact list? Please let us know in the comments below…