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Networking
resettlement guide

The people you know can help you find a job. Studies have shown that most job seekers find their positions through networking. As soon as you decide to look for a job (or even while still employed), tell people you are looking. 

p>Networking involves contacting friends, friends of friends, family members and colleagues to discuss new directions, generate career options, help in decision-making, assess your transferable skills, find job leads, shape up your CV, rehearse for interviews, gain access to role models and mentors and receive emotional support. 

The tips below will give you some ideas for your initial networking contacts. As you continue your search, your network will expand through visits to job fairs and other events, classified ads in newspapers, industry publications and newsletters, and Internet communities.

Building Your Contact List

Your first step is to create a list of, say, 50-plus people you could consider for networking purposes. Include some or all of the following:

  • Relatives and family contacts
  • Friends
  • Neighbours
  • Employers
  • Co-workers
  • PTA members
  • Teachers – including college professors and advisors
  • Members/clergy of your church or religious institution
  • School and college alumni
  • Social acquaintances
  • Salespeople
  • Politicians, town council members
  • Service providers – doctor, dentist, lawyer
  • Trade Association & Institute contacts

Prioritise Each Contact

After you have made a list of the people you know, prioritise them, while keeping in mind the following traits of a good contact:

  • Likes you and/or has a reason to want to help you
  • Knows many people
  • Is aware of the current job market
  • Is successful

Create a Networking Plan

You'll need a plan of attack for your networking. Here are six important steps:

  • Research your career field at libraries, bookshops and on the Internet.
  • Ask friends about people they know who have jobs in your field.
  • Build a network of people you can talk to about their work.
  • Organise a system to track your networking activities and contact names.
  • Prepare a personal pitch – a 30-second response to “Tell me a little about yourself.”
  • Prepare your networking self-marketing tools: CV, letters, etc.

The Networking Call

Begin by calling high priority contacts, and work your way down the list. Be prepared to give a 30 second summary of why you are calling. This is appropriate for calls to potential employers and to friends and acquaintances on your networking list. The key to every networking call or contact is to ask for help. Never directly ask for a job; only seek another referral or information, opinions and advice.

Making the Call

Here's one way to begin the call: “Hello Mr Smith, my name is Judy Jones. Sam Wilkie, who works with you, suggested I contact you. Is it convenient to talk briefly?" (Then, assuming the answer is ‘yes’). "I’ve recently left XYZ where as an ABC, I had responsibility for EFG. Of course, Sam didn’t suggest that you’d have a job for me but he did say that your perspective on the business/the market etc could be helpful for me to tap into. Your views on my CV would be appreciated and if you feel there are people I should be talking to, I’d be grateful if you could put me in touch."

Expand Your Network

You can expand your network in a couple of important ways:

At structured events with networking on the agenda: scheduled one-to-one meetings, career or job fairs, networking clubs, events sponsored by Chambers of Commerce and recruitment agencies, civic conventions, professional association meetings, trade shows and Internet communities.

At unstructured settings where you can turn on your networking skills: restaurants and clubs, continuing education classes, parties and other social occasions (although don’t become the party bore here – it’s often best to note the name and contact details of the person you’d like to talk to and call them after the event), on the bus or aeroplane, and Internet chat rooms.

Click here to view the LinkedIn resettlement guide for further information.

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