When professionals are looking for a job they often overlook one of the best resources that’s right under their nose – all the people they already know. What? You don’t know anyone, you say?
You would be surprised at the number of people you know and should make aware that you’re looking for your next job.
Know any of the following people?
- Family – this not only includes your immediate family, but also don’t forget about your aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc.
- Current and past co-workers
- Current and past supervisors
- Customers that you’ve sold to
- Professionals that you’ve interviewed with in the past (yes, you should keep names of everyone you interview with)
- Your spouse
- Your landlord
- Business associates
- Sales professionals who’ve contacted you in the past
- Your doctor
- Your dentist
- Your Accountant
- Frenemies – the people you think are your competition, believe it or not they will help you
- Social contacts
The thing is, all of these people have their own networks, who have their own networks, and so on.
I heard a story once about an executive who lost their job and was in the process of looking for a new one. When the career coach he was working with asked the executive how many people he had in his network, it turns out the executive had a network of over 2,000 people. When the career coach asked if the executive had made them aware he was looking, turns out the executive hadn’t thought to contact them.
The first thing you should do when you start looking for the next job is make a list of all the people you know. Once your list is complete start contacting all of them directly and request their assistance.
Following are some examples of what you can say depending on the relationships.
To those individuals you know very well:
I wanted to touch base and let you know that I am looking for my next career opportunity. I am seeking employment with a company that could utilize a marketing manager who has been directly responsible for increasing revenues by 20%.
Following are some additional facts regarding my experience:
- 5 years leading internet marketing campaigns that resulted in generating in excess of over a $1 million dollars in revenue
- 3 years of lead generation and content development that resulted in 15% growth in customer base
- 5 years with video marketing and scripting developing award winning sales campaigns
I would ask that you share my resume (attached) with your network along with my contact information.
Note: Be clear about the type of job that you are looking for and instructions regarding what you would like for the contact to do. In my job as a recruiter I’m always networking to find professionals and I can’t tell you how often when I’m networking with other professionals they don’t think about sending my contact information to their network until I ask them to.
To those individuals who are business associates:
If you’re not comfortable asking someone directly to send your resume to their network you can try a more subtle approach.
I’ve been following your company and I’m glad to see that business is going well for you. I wanted to inform you that I am currently seeking a Manufacturing Engineer position. My current company recently downsized as a result of a downward trend in the market. I wanted to inquire if you might know of anyone I could contact directly in order to network with. I’ve spent the last 5 years in manufacturing medical devices. My experience includes writing test procedures, documenting designs, reverse engineering complex tools, and performing verification of test fixtures.
I appreciate in any assistance you may be able to provide.
Note: Here you want to mention the type of job that you’re searching for and a brief summary of your qualifications. By asking for a name of someone to contact, you’re giving the person the option to ask for your resume. They may not want to take the time to pass your resume along but can provide you with a name and let you do the work.
If you don’t feel comfortable contacting your network at all because you’re embarrassed that you’re looking for a job – get over it. For some reason we’ve created a stigma regarding the unemployed that there must be something wrong with them if they’re looking for a job.
With the pace at which companies are bought and sold today, along with the loss of manufacturing and design jobs to the overseas market, it’s perfectly acceptable that people will be unemployed a lot during their careers. Think of it this way, the more jobs individuals have the broader their knowledge base seeing how different companies operate versus staying at a company for twenty years and only seeing one way to do things.
Once you do land that next job, remember to pass it along. If you get an email from a friend or business acquaintance seeking your assistance in finding a job be sure to help them.
We’re all in it together!