Job search networking
How to get started

job search networking

You know that job search networking is by far the most proactive of all approaches to self marketing and job hunting that you can implement.

But how to get started? It's simple.......start by preparing a list of your contacts.

Without a contacts list it's virtually impossible to network in a strategic and targeted way. And.....it is important that you target the contacts in your network, otherwise your networking activity will come to a crashing halt!

So, let's look at what's involved in putting together, and managing an effective list of networking contacts.

Job search networking - preparing your list

Your first goal in how to network - put together a list of 50-100 names.

Surprisingly this is where job search networking activity stops for many people - right here at the first step.

They claim that they either don't know that many people, and/or they don't have business contacts who might be able to provide them with relevant advice or assistance.

Networking Tips

When putting your list together never make assumptions about what people might know, or who they might know.

The concept of job networking is based on the fact that the people you know will have their own network of contacts. They will know people who are not known to you.

The reason most people claim that they don't know 50-100 people is that they are already pre-qualifying their list.

They are making assumptions that the people they are thinking of adding to their list won't be in a position to assist them with job search advice.

Remember - you simply don't know, you can't know, what your contacts know, or who they know until you ask them!

Who to include on your list?

This really is the easy part. Do a brainstorming exercise. Literally write down every name that you can think of.

To help you get started, list all the people you know from the following categories:

  • All your immediate family members
  • All extended family members - aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws etc
  • All your friends - even those whom you haven't seen for a while, or that you may have lost touch with
  • All your current and past co-workers, professional colleagues
  • Your business contacts - go through your business cards file
  • Review your email contacts list - at work and home
  • People from your church
  • People that you play sport with
  • People involved in other recreational activities that you enjoy
  • People involved in your professional activities - e.g. professional associations
  • People you went to school with
  • Have a look at your Facebook, LinkedIn and other contacts from social networking sites
  • People with whom you have studied at college or university, lecturers and tutors
  • Your doctor, dentist, lawyer etc - these can be especially rich contacts because of the diversity of people that they see in their professional lives
  • People whom you know in your life generally because of regular interaction - e.g. retail assistants, your mechanic, tradespeople

Job search networking
Managing your contacts list

When you are in serious job search mode it is very important that you have a system for managing your contacts.

What sort of information will you need to gather and keep?

You will want easy access to telephone numbers, email addresses, and home and work addresses of your contacts.

You'll also want to record comments and notes about the networking contacts that you've made.

The easiest way to do this is to create a spreadsheet, or use a notebook to do this.

You can download a sample contacts list spreadsheet here.

You'll notice that in this sample spreadsheet that there is a column with the heading "referred by". If you follow the networking strategy which is explained in networking tips you will need to keep this type of information.

The job networking strategy described in networking tips is known as "referral based" networking and it involves conducting an informational interview with targeted contacts in your data base.

Job search networking
Getting started summary

How did you go preparing your list of contacts?

The extensive list of suggestions above about people you can include on your contacts list should emphasise the point that you should not make assumptions about who your contact know or what they might know.

Now that you have a list you are ready to take the next step which is contacting those people on your list for information.

Note......I said contacting for information!!!

That's a clue about what job search networking is. To learn more about how to network go to networking tips

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Related Links

Tips for how to network - Find out exactly what networking is, and what it isn't!
How to set up networking meetings - A simple effective method for getting people to meet with you
How to network with strangers - Learn about the art of referral networking