Posted on November 4, 2015
Networking 101 – do’s! (2/3)
1 – Contact your closest family and friends directly. After being home with the kids and running a small business I was definitely out of office culture for a few years. Since I wanted to get back into office work, I let my nearest-and-dearest friends know that I was really looking for temporary or contract work. I asked them directly either over the phone or via email if there was anything opening at their organization. I had a 4-month contract within the month. Often companies will take a chance on someone when they know it is a temporary arrangement & if it doesn’t work out, you can part ways quickly and easily.
2 – Let old colleagues and old companies know you are looking. Often I will send an email to a few people I have already worked with and ask if there is anything available or coming available in the near future. This – again – sows the seeds in peoples’ minds that you are looking and having worked with you before, they are more likely to recommend you again. I have actually heard of positions through the grapevine where ex-colleagues have recommended me to a third organization once they knew I was available. You just never know where a job may come from.
3 – Use social media to your advantage. I have a LinkedIn page but so far it hasn’t been the job-seeking paradise that I thought it would be. Because the majority of hiring managers are my age and older, Facebook has been the perfect source of informal leads. So far 4 out of 6 of my jobs have come from making a status about looking for work & letting people know I was available. Again, this spreads out: just this week I went to an informal interview that happened because a friend recommended me to one of her friends for a position.
4 – Social events are a great opportunity to mention work. Since it’s a question that comes up often at social events, feel free to point out what field you are in, what you are currently doing, what your specialties are. Often when I get into a conversation at parties on the subject of work, I will say something like, “I’m in communications but mostly concentrate on social media. I’ve been lucky to been able to find contracts pretty regularly and work 8-9 months of the year.” People are often intrigued when I mention that I take time off in the summer. I then take the opportunity to highlight the benefits of hiring someone on contract, “It’s been great for the organizations I’ve worked for. They can hire me quickly to give themselves time to run a competition for a permanent hire. It’s a great stop-gap measure for companies.”
5 – If you have an organization you are interested in, try contacting them. A friend in university contacted a group of people who were doing research she was interested in. She went through the directory, found the person in charge, and flipped them an email asking for a chat. Although her goal was really to discuss the work the group was doing, they ended up offering her a job.
Next up: networking don’ts!