Networking – Find Conversation Partners

A group of people can do more than one person alone. This is true in your job search too.

There are people in your life who can help you get hired. They can help if you are going after specific job openings, targeting specific companies, or building from relationships.

Your network of friends, family, and colleagues can surprise you with connections and introductions to people you didn’t even realize they knew. The key is to ask. And the more specific your request, the more likely they can help.

They can also be advisors who help you edit your resume or cover letter, negotiate a job offer, or help you vent your frustrations. They can be cheerleaders who encourage you during your search and lend a hand in your daily life. Or, they can be accountability partners — individuals who, once you tell them of a goal, you don’t want to disappoint, and who will be honest with you when you aren’t at your best.

Use the following form to make a list of everyone in your life. This will help you remember who can help, and how.

People to consider: your extended family (even the cousin that you haven’t seen in 5 years, or a member of your spouse’s family), your friends (old and new), members of a community/group you are a part of, and people in:

This community will help you get a job, sometimes in surprising ways.

For example, my high school has a LinkedIn group. One alumn of my school, a recent college graduate, posted a single message that said, “Hi, I’m looking for a job related to X… Anyone know of anything?” That blunt approach is not what I normally recommend, but it worked for him. About a half dozen people replied with help. None of these people ever met him. Yet, just that small connection of attending the same high school was enough to get them to reach out. You can get these informal connections working for you too as we will explain in the following steps.

For now, we are going to make a list of your connections. Drop as many of them into a list as you can. And connect with them on LinkedIn (explained in the next step). Don’t worry about when you spoke with them last or what you will say to them next — we’ll come back to that later. Right now, you just need to create that list. You can use the brainstorming worksheet to help you identify who they are.

With all of the networking and applying you’ll be doing, you want to make sure you keep your contacts and applications organized and on schedule! You can use the attached worksheet to brainstorm your ideas: Building_Out_Your_Network_Worksheet