The Need For Networking
The numbers are clear: 85% of jobs are now found through networking. Not only do I believe the statistics, but I am proof. As I thought about the reality of that number, my memory went to the start of my career. Even before the life I call my “career”, networking goes back to jobs I had in high school and college. I found my first job after college through a temporary agency, but that is the exception. Every other job I’ve had after school, during summers, full time employment, advancement opportunities have come through networking. After starting my own consulting business, my clients have been gained through networking in some fashion.
When you know the facts, you must consider networking your number one career strategy and use your network to find a job.
Create A Tiered Networking List
Begin by creating a networking list for your job search. Type the list using Word, Excel or Google Docs and Sheets. Create three tiers for your contacts. Tier One is for those contacts that are the biggest centers of influence, those whom you know well and consider to be well known or well connected. This is your list of “Hot Contacts” and will be the connections your contact first. Tier Three on your networking list are those contacts that you may not know well or maintain regular contact.
Brainstorm Your List Of Contacts
Let your mind wander through your friends, acquaintances and colleagues. Include vendors and competitors. Capture the names of alumni, class mates, teachers, coaches and mentors. Set a time limit and list as many names as you can in 20 minutes. Don’t be distracted if you think you’ve listed the name twice. Do not spend time classifying the names any further and don’t slow yourself down by spelling the names correctly, this list is only for you. Your goal is not a perfect list, but a list that you can use.
Think of your networking list as a living document that will grow and change during your job search. Contacts that you have listed as Tier 1 contacts will move to Tier 3 and you will meet new contacts that you will list among your Tier 1 network. After you have a tiered list, make a simple plan to organize your list.
Develop A Follow Up System
Your networking strategy is so critical that you need to stay organized and develop a follow-up plan. This plan does not need to be elaborate. Create a system that works for you. Build a spreadsheet listing each contact name in order by tier. List their contact information in separate columns including email, phone and mail. Finally include two columns for dates. In one column, record the date of your last conversation. In the other column, record the date when you will follow up with the client. This method creates a simple daily networking list and you will never waste time wondering whom you should next contact.
Start Networking To Find A Job
Put the statistics to work for you and make networking the biggest part of your job search strategy. An organized networking list and follow-up plan are essential tools in your job search tool box which show that you are serious about your job search campaign. Best of luck as you start networking to find a job.