Saturday 13 February 2010

Effective networking - The part contacts play

You now have a list of primary contacts and must decide what they can do to help you contact anyone who:

• Has the power to offer you a job or can tell you about real opportunities
• Can refer you to someone who can arrange an interview and read your CV
• Can give you information about job openings
• Is knowledgeable about the industries in which you are interested and may have key contacts who can help you with advice or information
• Can provide you with other contacts who may be able to do any of the above
• May be unlikely to have immediate contacts, but may be a source of useful ideas

From the above, you are now in a position to rearrange your contacts in a list of priority.

If contacting people like this was not part of your 1ob, then you may find it more comfortable, for the first few calls, to make them to people who are close friends. Networking does not always come easily to us and we perhaps need to rehearse on more approachable friends until we gain more confidence and expertise. However as soon as you feel you have things right, you must move to the higher priority contacts that can make a more useful contribution to your job search.

It is possible you may have under, or over, estimated the strength of a particular contact, but generally you will be a good judge of how useful or influential each one may be.

A vital feature of the process is for you always to be using your existing contacts to give you the names of other contacts and so widen your network. After a while, it is quite possible for someone to mention a name that you have been given by someone else and have already contacted. You then have a contact in common.

Although the top category on your list contains the names of people who have the power to give you business, there may be no requirement at the time you make contact. Therefore, it is unwise to go straight in with a request for what you want. You may succeed in embarrassing your contact who has to say that they have no needs at the moment but really do appreciate your worth.

lf you ask for advice, it will make it easy for them to say there are no immediate opportunities, but they would be pleased to give you any help and assistance they can.

You can then ask if there are other people who could be contacted and you can also ask whether they see the current needs of their company changing in the near future.

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