The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.
~ Bob Burg
There are many methods for finding jobs, but without a doubt, networking is the most effective. It is also the hardest strategy for most people to implement, due to fear and lack of confidence. It can be nerve-wracking to reach out to people you barely know to ask for a favor. That’s why good outplacement career centers provide one-on-one coaching to help displaced employees through the networking process.
Here are six steps downsized employees can use to make effective use of their networks in seeking new jobs:
Start by making a list.
Who do you know that is knowledgeable in your field or well-connected? Who might know someone who could help you? Talk to anyone who is willing to talk. You never know who might have a connection that you don’t know about.
Contact the people on your list who you think might be able to help you.
Make a list of questions to ask before you meet with them. These might include questions to help with your market research, questions about a specific company, or questions about how to proceed with your job search in a particular field.
Leverage your contacts.
Use the name of the person who referred you as a reference, and start your conversation with your new contact by telling them who referred you to them. This will help you establish credibility.
Be prepared to give them a reason to meet with you.
Have a short explanation ready, such as, “So-and-so told me I should talk to you because you are an expert in this industry.”
Ask for an introduction to someone else in the company.
If your contact works in a different department or location than the one you want to work in, ask if they can introduce you to someone else in the organization who might be able to help you.
Ask for additional referrals.
In closing, ask your contact whether there is someone else in your industry they can introduce you to, or if they know of any other companies you should consider targeting in your job search.