Networking is a skillset that many believe they have but in reality few have mastered over the years. When you are in the search mode you must contact everybody you can think of in the possibility that they may know someone who knows someone that can indeed be of assistance in finding you that once in a lifetime opportunity. I have always remarked that if I can get myself in the door that I can certainly make an impact. To get inside takes a lot of effort but more importantly also takes knowing the right people. I know everybody despises the adage “It’s not what you know but who you know” because it gives no credence to the knowledge and insight that you bring to the table. However, there is certain validity to that adage because you can be the most insightful and qualified individual out there but if you don’t have the ability to present those talents they certainly go for naught.
Because I know through past and current experiences what it is like to be In Transition, I have always gone out of my way, whenever possible and especially when I was in a position to do so to network with those who are searching for employment. I recently made a business associate aware of a position that was available since I really thought it wasn’t appropriate for me – at least right now. Like a smart politician, you never know when those favors that you have done for others will come back to you in droves. I think more importantly, because those of us who have fought the battle of searches feel a certain fraternity in the sense that we always need to help others in their time of need.
Some sales people believe that setting a goal of 5 new contacts a day is how they make a certain impact but I have never given myself a quota. I do keep an accurate accounting of people from my past and if appropriate I will contact them just to assess if they have any ties to certain positions that I may have interest in. The advantage of being in the same field (associations) for as many years as I have is that you do know and know of many people who can steer you in the right direction. In my current search I have individuals who are helping to find local possibilities while others who are not limited geographically in their assistance. I have 500 new business cards and it is my goal to make sure they are distributed to people who can assist me in my search. Another technique that I use is that I have a digital copy of that business card and I make sure I attach a copy of it to every e-mail I send out in regards to the search.