Monday, May 4, 2009

Network Like You Mean It (Part 1)

All you recent grads, job searchers, or freelancers looking for your next gig - you’ve got to network like it’s your job. Because, to be honest, it kinda is.

You are NOT going to get hired through all those job sites. Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder - they are all the same. Does that mean they are useless? No. I’ll explain why in a couple days.

For now, the first step to networking is compiling your list of contacts.

I suggest you get a binder and a pack of loose leaf. On each page write the name of a contact you have personally in the business. (Every name gets a different page.) These should be people you know. Think professors, internship coordinators, summer job bosses, etc...

Below each name add the contact information. The person’s phone number (work, cell, home) and his/her e-mail address.

Then take the dive and call up each person on your list. Ask for an in-person informational interview. Tell him/her that you are looking for a job and you’d like to pick his/her brain about the job market and the industry. Make it sound like you believe he/she is the expert. Ask for just 10 minutes.

Go to the informational interview, as if it were a real interview. Prepare questions ahead of time. Do not show up in your jeans and scrubby t-shirt. Take your resume, clips, business card, etc... Thank your contact for the time, ask your questions and listen to the advice given. Keep it to the promised 10 minutes!

At the end - and this is the MOST important part - ask the person for 3 new contacts. When you get home add the new connections to a fresh sheet of loose leaf. Note the person’s contact information and add the person’s name who connected you.

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