Posted 4.4.07There is no more powerful tool in a job search than networking and there is, perhaps, no strategy that causes more fear and procrastination than networking.
1) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
It is impossible to ask people to help you if you don't know what you want. Sit down with pen and paper and develop the following things:
· What are your career goals?
· What kind of position are you looking for?
· Which are the top 15 companies or organizations where you want to work?
· Write out your networking script to use for phone calls
2) START WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
List every person you know. Don't make assumptions about whom or what they will or will not know.
a) Tell them what you want to do.
b) Ask if they know anyone at any of your target companies or anyone who might know someone there.
c) Then, get their permission to call these new contacts.
3) CALL THESE NEW CONTACTS!
Your first words should be "My name is XXX. My friend XXX suggested I call you."
a) To help this process, write out your networking script before you call.
b) Keep track of the contacts and their information.
c) Take notes and follow up again later.
4) MAKE NEW CONTACTS
Force yourself to join groups, volunteer, regularly attend groups you are in, join networking groups, attend networking events. The more people you know, the wider your network.
a) Carry your target organization list;
b) Know what you want and be able to say it in 30 seconds to a new person you meet.
5) DON'T WIMP OUT!
It is hard, it is uncomfortable, and it is a pain in the you-know-what. But, it is your most effective tool and it is critical you spend 80% of your time doing networking.
Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.