How To Light Up Your Networks When Starting Your Job Search

And How To Organize Your Contacts

How big a network should you have?  At least 200.

  • Previous co-workers are a great place to start. Go all the way back to your  first job.  By the way, use your resume as a memory jogger.

Comment: Many feel guilty about reaching out to people they haven’t stayed in touch with. Guess what?   They haven’t stayed in touch with you either!

  • Suggest taking another look at ALL your networks and ask yourself if you have turned over all the stones … suggested “stones” are below.
  • I guarantee, if you go through all these steps you will end up with many more than 200!
  • Do this for every community you have lived in.
  • Your resume is a great memory jogger. Start with your first job out of school and try to remember everyone.  Most of those folks will now have great jobs and many will be executives or senior managers.
  • Also there are connections called “weak ties.”Studies have shown 17% of job hunters got their job through weak ties. They are friends of a friend, distant relatives, someone you strike up a conversation with while waiting in the grocery line or sit next to on an airplane.

Personal “Stones” To Turnover

  • All the clubs you and your family belong to including the hiking, stamp, bridge and poker clubs not just country, tennis, health or swim clubs.
  • If you were in the military, reconnecting with buddies.
  • Your holiday card list and family address book.
  • Your complete email list. I will bet serious money there are a number of folks on there that do not know you are job hunting.
  • All sororities and fraternities you and the family have belonged to.
  • Relatives…this could be a huge list!Many clients ignore relatives since we think we may know most of their friends….but do you know their neighbors? Or everyone in their religious communities?
  • Your neighbors, especially the ones you prejudged like the 80 year old widower who doesn’t appear to have many friends but whose grandson is now a VP at Apple!
  • All the sports teams you and the family are or have been involved in.If your children have been active in sports think about their parents and  coaches.
  • Your cleaning lady/man. Sounds a bit silly but they may have a client you want to meet.
  • Your hairdresser or barber.
  • Your favorite bartender or barista.😎

Professional “Stones”

  • Have you asked your doctor(s) and dentist(s)?
  • Accountant, real estate rep, attorneys, bankers, brokers (mortgage, financial, insurance).
  • Travel agents (both business and personal) … they owe you 😎

Business “Stones”

  • Vendors, suppliers, sales people who called on you.
  • Third party leasing companies.
  • All consultants you have used.
  • Retirees from the companies you have worked for, some stay very active on boards or as consultants.
  • Dust off those attendee lists from seminars or conferences you have attended.
  • Don’t forget your company’s competitors.
  • Fund raising campaigns you were involved with.
  • VC’s and Portfolio Managers you have dealt with.
  • Business and personal banking contacts.

Educational “Stones”

  • Start with grade school and move through college.
  • Your Alumni data bases contain real gold.You can search geographically by company name or position.  Also check out your high school and middle schools, many now have data bases too.
  • Your Alumni organizations.They may have some great services or may be very active in a city near you.
  • Adult education classes you have attended.
  • For all of these under education … now do it with your kids, wife, husband, and significant others.

Community “Stones”

  • The Mayor and counsel members.
  • PTA
  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • Community fund raisers.
  • Boy and Girl Scouts.
  • All community organizations you and the family have been involved in.

Organizing Your Contacts

  • One of the biggest mistakes we make when in job search is not having a contact management system. This allows us to keep in touch with everyone in our current network and in our growing network as our search progresses.
  • Your contact management system can be an Excel spread sheet. This a link to my fellow coach Rob Hellmann who has an excellent Excel spread sheet template which you can download:
  • I recommend you stay in touch with everyone in your network every 3 – 6 weeks.  The three week time frame if for your closest contacts. Staying in touch is just a simple email on how you are doing, or where you could use their help or names of new companies you are targeting or a link to an article you think they may enjoy.
  • Another idea for a contact management system is to use your Contacts if you are an Apple user or your Address Book if Microsoft. Both allow you to set up group folders. A simple folder could be My Job Search Contacts. Then in the “notes” section you can record all the relevant data. EG: Who introduced you, when you last talked, what you talked about, when you need to follow-up.  Key to the follow-up.  Immediately put the follow-up date into your e-calendar with notes on the purpose of the call or email. This is a fool proof method since when you open your computer on the follow-up date it reminds you to call Mary or Jeff.
  • Follow-up. Lack of timely follow-up is the single biggest mistake job searchers make.  It is something we have all experienced … “oh my gosh I forgot to call Jane.”

Good Luck!