HIRED LEARNING: Secrets of Traditional Networking

By George Hunter

If you have not been in a serious job search in some years, you will notice that there are now three very different kinds of networking: traditional networking and two relatively new types—membership networking and social networking. This short article will address the easiest and most efficient way to get your search under way: traditional networking.

Traditional networking is one of the most powerful job-hunting tools. But no matter what the traditional PSG’er tells you, it’s not as simple as the old-timers would lead you to think. There is a huge difference between reaching out to those contacts you have been dealing with for years, both business and personal, who already know and want to help you, and tapping total strangers, who are far less inclined to help. True personal contacts are better than business networks, executive recruiters, and even your usual interface with the Internet:

Talking with friends and associates is easier and more effective than talking with strangers—greater impact!

If you are not ready to ―go public,‖ you can speak to people you trust—better confidentiality!

People who already know your professional skills and like you personally don’t have to be convinced—less need to persuade and sell!

Why bother writing a resume? And why deal with lots of letters, phone calls, and appointments if you don’t have to? Maximum efficiency!

No doubt about it. Personal contact, if it is an option, is the most pleasant as well as the quickest and easiest way to make a connection. You will also get a lot of free advice and mentoring that will be valuable as you continue your search.

Now a short note on how to proceed:

Inventory: Design a basic Excel sheet with all of your personal contacts.

Organization: Arrange them in priority order and focus on the ones who can be most helpful, using a delicate balance of the following: how likely this person is to control, or at least know of, appropriate jobs, and how likely this person is to react favorably to your situation.

Use your intuition to deal with the individuals. Did that co-worker or manager have a positive opinion of you and your work? Did that supplier work in partnership with you, really know you? Will he help and aid in your search? Others may be helpful, but if your connection with them is remote, don’t expect too much. Put them at the end of the list.

Now do you homework, make your calls and emails. Be sure to keep track of the date you called and make a follow-up note on your calendar.

We will discuss membership networking and social networking in the next installment.

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