This week I got the opportunity to present at a meeting with the Business Professional Exchange (BPE) group in Hendricks county on the topic of “Making your network work for you.” The main theme of the discussion was about giving your network “homework” and asking them to participate in your job search actively in a couple of different ways:
Begin by broadcasting that you’re on a job search to your existing network – friends, family, neighbors, professional contacts, etc. This is not fun, but it is necessary. If no one knows you’re seeking work, no one can help you in that endeavor. Next, ask your network if they know anyone in a certain location, business, industry, or type of position that they can introduce you to. For example – “Do you know anyone from Indianapolis in a high-level HR function that you’d recommend I speak with”? Get to know your network’s network by asking for the introductions.
This is a brilliant idea and one that absolutely helped me get a job. When I moved to Indianapolis from Lansing, Michigan, Jessica Stephenson shared her blog with me about Creating a Viral Networking Team. Within 5 weeks of implementing this strategy – I got 3 offers. I had lived in Indianapolis for several months before starting my team, but I got more interviews in the last 5 weeks of my job search, with my team helping me, than in all the months beforehand.
The first step to creating your team is to ask your network if they’re willing to participate. This means they will get an email from you once a week with an update of the activities from your job search. The email will include any interviews you’ve had in the past week, positions to which you’ve applied, and any interviews or meetings you have coming up in the next week. Always attach your resume & include your contact information on these emails.
Instead of trying to figure out who knows who – put the onus on them to review your job search activities and reach out on their own to their contacts. Ask them to forward your information to any connections they might have at any of the organizations you’ve applied. Having a job networking team helps keep you accountable to your job search. Be sure to be reliable with your emails and send them every week.
Even small networks can be “put to work”. Make sure your network is being used to its fullest ability by intentionally asking for help regularly.