Career Pathway #167: Got a Network?

The subject of networking has come up several times in recent coaching conversations with my clients, and although I’ve previously written about the topic, I want to once again bring it to the forefront. This is likely the single most important tool in career development and job search. A good resume is a must have, but who is going to make sure it gets to the decision makers within the organizations you are targeting? Sending it by email, fax, or postal mail to the Human Resources department, without someone to act as your personal ambassador, leaves a lot to chance.

Some folks are lucky enough to find proactive recruiters in staffing agencies who take it upon themselves to sell you to organizations where they may have established contacts. But even so, that may not be as good as an internal or collegial connection. And actually, it can be difficult to find the right recruiter or one that is interested in spending much time on selling your wares. So that leaves you and your network to poke around talking with professionals and management in order to locate appropriate and promising leads.

Rest assured that the majority of professional positions are landed through personal contacts by working one’s network. Given that reality, your most productive job search hours are likely spent calling those you know, sharing your current job search or career progression goals with them, and following up with any contact names they offer you.

Of course it’s good to have a planned approach to your phone calls or meetings, so that both your time as well as that of your contact is productively and efficiently spent. Plan for some specific questions about particular industries, companies, and/or jobs. Find out how to best approach an individual or organization, what they might be looking for in terms of skills and background, who the organization’s competition may be, and how you can best leverage your experience to meet their needs. And, always ask for the names of other people they may know and would recommend for you to contact.

Don’t despair if you haven’t kept in touch with some of your past co-workers, supervisors, or other colleagues. My experience and that of my clients’ has been very positive in reconnecting with past acquaintances. What have you got to lose? If they don’t have the time to speak or meet with you, don’t take it personally; their schedule may be such that they can’t give the time right then. The vast majority will not only be sincerely happy to help, but glad to have the opportunity to catch up with you. You may find that you have some information or something helpful to share with them, too. 

Coaching Inquiries: What friends, relatives, neighbors, or colleagues would you list as potential people for your networking? Will you be running into them at any scheduled events, or is it best to schedule some additional time to call them? What specific goals can you define for each of those contacts? Are there some people whom you are more comfortable calling, so that you can build your confidence and prepare for the less familiar or higher level conversations? How much time are you willing to commit to this activity on a regular basis?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about how a LifeTrek coach can support and guide you in your career development process, please Email Kate or use our Contact Form to schedule a complimentary coaching session. This will give you the opportunity to experience our coaching first hand and to receive the benefits of an individual session, focused specifically on your desires and process.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Kate Kriynovich (Kate@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-488-4659
Fax: 240-465-5848

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