6 steps to job hunting using your networking contact list

When you are looking for a job, in addition to consulting newspaper ads and specialized job search engines on the Internet, you should also request information from the people on your network’s contact list.

Your personal contacts can provide you with up-to-date information about the company and job openings that are not advertised on the regular job market. Sometimes when they don’t provide information about the job opening you’re looking for, your contacts may refer you to someone else who might be able to provide you with the information you’re looking for about the industry, company, or position of interest.

This is an example of what networking is. Networking is when you start reaching out to your contact list to get the necessary information or referrals from your friends’ network of contacts. Many people are repelled by the idea of ​​networking. Some critics of networking believe that it is not a reliable source of information about the industry, companies, or job openings. Others say it’s easier to stick with traditional job market postings than it is to rely on networking to get the information we need as part of our job search efforts.

You may not have noticed, but you’re already networking on a daily basis and you just don’t know it. As you go about your daily tasks, you interact with people you know; the hairdresser, the bank manager, your neighbors, your friends and family, your current and former co-workers, classmates and other acquaintances. All these people, who are a potential source of information, leads and contacts for a position of interest. To make the overall networking process easier, here are some basic but important tips:

  • Make a list of your “warm contacts”

Well, Walt Disney once said that “everything starts with a mouse”. When it comes to networking, it all starts with a list. We call this list a warm contact list because it includes people you know who will reach out to you without much hesitation or contact you because they know who you are. To some people, this may seem like a scary step, so as you get more comfortable with the process, start with your closest family and friends, and then expand your list to include other acquaintances. Remember that the warm contact list includes people you know and interact with, compared to a cold contact list that includes people you haven’t had any contact with for a while.

  • Contact people on your network list

When contacting a contact in your network, please let them know that you are actively looking for work. Be honest about what kind of job you’re looking for and ask if they know of job openings in your area of ​​interest. By letting your contacts know your preference for job type, industry, and companies of interest, you will allow them to help provide you with quality information, referrals, or contacts. It is very important to share your contact information with your network, so they can contact you if they learn of anything. It has been my personal experience that some of my network contacts have even asked me for a copy of my resume so they can pass it on to their network, so have an updated resume ready if they ask.

  • Do a self-assessment before contacting your network

As you go through the process of contacting your network, they will likely want to know more about your experience, skills, expectations, and job preferences to better assist you. You should be able to provide this information concisely and describe what kind of information you want your contact to provide.

Many business recruiting and human resources professionals suggest that you prepare a short script that you can practice with. They call this script the “elevator pitch” or “two-minute pitch,” where you can articulate your job expectations and preferences, relevant experience, and skills in about two minutes. In the event that a more detailed conversation is needed, a short follow-up meeting or a call to review your resume may be necessary.

  • Ask for referrals from your network contacts

In the event that the person you contact cannot provide you with the information you need for your job search efforts, you may request information from at least two people who can assist you. Ask if your contact could send an introductory note of the call before calling or emailing the reference.

  • When referred, act on your referrals immediately

When you are referred to someone else, your contact may contact you to introduce you and let you know that you will be in touch. So stay in touch with your network for a good time to make your move within a few days of being referred.

When calling the referred person, maintain proper business etiquette. When you make the call, introduce yourself and let the person know who referred you and how you relate to your contact. Be direct, but courteous, when sharing with the person the information that interests you.

Sometimes the person you were referred to may call your contact after your call. So it’s a good idea to call your contact to share how the call went and, more importantly, to thank them for the referral.

  • Always be available to add value to your network

This is a crucial point. Networking is a two-way street when it comes to adding value to each other. As you help your network, your people will be more willing to help you with information and referrals, when the time comes.

As you gain experience through practice, you will discover that networking is not an unknown science, but rather an interesting, fun and rewarding experience for your “team”. It’s also one of the most important tools when it comes to taking your career enhancement and overall job search strategies to the next level.