By: David J Clemen
The best and most common way to find out about open positions is through networking. Networking is all about talking to people. As you talk to people your network begins to grow. Once you have built that network it will grow and grow as you communicate with more people. That network will be a valuable resource to gain advice, information and other support to help you be successful professionally.
Networking is not just about calling everyone you know both personally and professionally and asking if they know of any open job positions. An effective networker will take a much different approach.
First they will start by listing as many names of contacts they have that they can possibly think of. This list can consist of both personal and professional contacts. The very next step is to put together some type of presentation. It is important to remember at this stage it is not about just calling up and asking if they know of anyone hiring. The initial goal is to be seeking career and industry advice. The reason you are doing this is because you will not come off as a desperate job seeker but someone doing research. If you just ask about open positions they will quickly say “no” and that will be the end of it. What you want to do is build an active network that will be keeping you in mind when something does cross their path. Here is a better way to approach it a good suggestion for your networking presentation.
“Hi Bob, Jim Jones at ABC Company suggested that I give you a call. Jim and I have worked together over the years and he mentioned you work in the software industry and are the VP of Product Development. I am a programmer and feel you could probably give me some valuable career advice. I would really appreciate some of your time. Would you be available for a cup of coffee next week?”
You did not ask for a job but advice. There is a big difference. People are always willing to help someone that has made them feel good about themselves and who appears to be genuinely appreciative of their time. This approach can be utilized in many ways. You can ask for job hunting advice (resume, cover letter, etc...), industry advice, contacts, industry information and much more. As these people are giving you advice they are learning more and more about your experience and qualifications. Making them a very effective tool for you to identify open positions.
By having these conversations you now have people that are familiar with you keeping you in mind for positions. Also always remember to send a thank you letter to these people. It will go a very long way.