Networking: Organizations vs. Openings

networkingOne of the biggest mistakes job seekers make in networking is focusing too much on asking about job openings.

Do you find networking stressful, depressing or unproductive? Shifting your focus could transform your whole experience – and get you a better job, sooner.

Consider this: Have you ever gotten a call or email from an acquaintance saying they’re looking for a job, and asking whether you know of any openings for them?

If you’re like most people, your answer to that question tends to be short and sad: “No, I’m sorry, I don’t. I’ll keep you in mind if I hear of anything.”

Or perhaps the acquaintance wants to meet with you, but it’s not clear exactly what they want from you – are they hoping you’ll find them a job somehow? Do you feel a little pressured? Sorry for them? This can be uncomfortable for both people.

Try this approach instead: Instead of asking about openings, say “I’ve developed a list a companies I’m targeting in my job search, and I was wondering if I could show it to you and bounce some ideas off you.”

Doesn’t this sound more upbeat and attractive?

With this approach, networking becomes an opportunity to:

  • Build your Target Companies List – the list of organizations you might want to work for and that you’re focusing on in your networking.
  • Become well informed about those companies, which helps you sell yourself to them – and also makes you a more interesting networking partner.
  • Gain referrals to other people to network with – people who can provide information or leads related to your list.
  • Spread the word about your skills and availability.

Focusing on organizations in your networking can lead to hearing about openings before they’re announced – when there is much less competition and you can really stand out. How would you like a message like this:

“We haven’t met, but Joe Jones said he spoke with you recently and was impressed. We might possibly have an opportunity coming up that you’d be interested in. Would you to come in and talk about it?”

In a future post I’ll describe powerful techniques for using this approach to network your way into your next job. Subscribe to my blog to make sure you don’t miss it!

Job Postings – Better Uses for Them, #3

If you’re looking for job openings, undoubtedly you see many that aren’t quite right for you.

Do a good deed that will help you, too: pass some of these announcements on to other job seekers you’re networking with.

Not networking with other job seekers? You’re missing out on opportunities for synergy and mutual support. Job clubs and  groups, such the Experience Unlimited groups sponsored by the California EDD (Employment Development Department), are great for this and also provide mock interviews, resume evaluations, and other useful activities.

How can job seekers be helpful to each other? Others who are searching are, like you, budding experts in the best practices of job search. The smart ones are doing a lot of networking and are likely to have ideas and leads for you, not to mention sympathizing with your life on the job search roller coaster.

As we all know, networking works best when its reciprocal: “You help me, I’ll help you.” So when you see a job opening that might be right for someone you know, send it along. A little favor like that helps keep you at “top of mind,” and it’s a nice thing to do!

Peace on Earth, good will to all – and good jobs, too!

(Visit my blog to read the other posts in this series!)

Job Postings: Better Uses for Them, #1

Search for Your Future Boss!

The only purpose for looking up job openings online is to apply to them, right?

Nope! Here’s the first in my series of better uses for these postings.

Clue: Who’s looking to hire your future boss? Soon after, that manager may need to hire you!

So as an example, if you’re seeking a job as a Training Specialist, start searching on or for Training and Development Manager openings that can tip you off to a future opening for you.

When a new manager is hired, new staff often follow. Many companies will hold off on filling the need for individual contributors until the new manager is on board to do the hiring.

Before that happens, you have a golden moment to start networking your way into this company, before the position is advertised and hundreds of resumes arrive.

Keep talking to people and monitoring the situation, and if something opens up – there you are, the first and possibly the only candidate, referred in by people who have spoken with you.


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