Organizing Your Networking Contacts During Your Job Search

Organizing Your Networking Contacts During Your Job Search

Let’s get specific with some job search networking strategies.

Once you’ve established your target employers (you have done this, haven’t you?), then your networking contacts will fall into one of four categories.

Determine who your target employers are.

I’m sure YOU have developed a list of target employers, so let me give you some advice for your friend, who hasn’t been as sharp with his/her job search as you. What we’re talking about here is developing and executing a targeted, proactive job search that doesn’t rely on job boards, company job sites, or any other passive means to look for a job. With a targeted, proactive job search, you…I mean your friend…will be developing a list of 25 to 50 companies that are a strong match in terms of products or services sold, company culture, growth initiatives…it doesn’t matter what’s important to you in a company, just that you are finding companies that have/do/are what you want in an employer.

Organization is a MUST.

You will want to keep track of your research on your target employers, whether on your computer or in a paper file. The important thing is that you are keeping records of what you learn and deduce about your target companies.

Next, you want to determine who you know relative to each of your target employers.

The tool I like to use is a single sheet divided into quadrants; use one sheet for each company and fill in the quadrants as follows:

Quadrant 1 – Contacts who have both a relationship with the target company’s hiring manager and who work at the target company

Quadrant 2 – Contacts who know the hiring manager, but don’t work at the target company.

Quadrant 3 – Contacts who work at the target company, but don’t know the hiring manager.

Quadrant 4 – Contacts who don’t work at the target company and don’t know the hiring manager, but do know a lot of people. (I call these folks Centers of Influence.)

LinkedIn is an excellent resource to see who in your existing network fits into one of the quadrants for your target companies, or who in your network knows someone who would fit into Quadrants 1, 2, or 3. Of course, your goals is always to get to Quadrant 1 for each of your targets, which gives you a direct pipeline to asking for a meeting with the hiring manager.

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