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How To Activate Your Professional Network To Discover Job Opportunities

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

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One of the most effective ways to find a job is through people you know who can vouch for your skills and knowledge, potential fit with their company, and work ethic. Referrals have always been a common way for companies find new hires. This is especially true for senior management and executive positions.

So how can you activate your own professional network to discover these job opportunities? In this article, we will cover:

We'll show you how to build and activate your network in a way that creates opportunities for you both now and in the future.

1. The Golden Rule

The “golden rule” applies in networking:

Do unto others, as you’d have them do unto you.

If you wouldn’t like an overbearing person nagging you at an event, then think twice before you bombard others with requests of your own.

'Networking' is a word that can cause some people to recoil in distaste. We’ve all been approached by the 'hard sales' types who flash you a perfect smile and immediately launch into a pitch about whatever it is they want your referrals or introductions for. Unfortunately, this is the image that some people have of networking.

Good networking is exactly the opposite. Networking is about making valuable professional and social connections that grow over time. In order for that to happen, you must be a valuable contact, too.

If you remember one thing about networking, remember this: networking does not equal demanding favours. If you push people with your requests, you may push them away from you forever.

2. Give First

As you give, so you shall receive. When you meet someone new in a networking situation, a great tactic for making a connection is to give them something they need. Perhaps it’s the name of a valuable contact or the title of a great reference book, or even a recommendation for an excellent restaurant to entertain clients.

Ask yourself how you can be of service and help each person that you meet. In return, people will appreciate your efforts, remember you, and they will want to give you something in return—if not now, then in the future. This is how you build a network of people who will be ready and willing to help you with referrals when you're ready to seek out a new job opportunity.

3. Follow Up

Follow-up is key. If you say you’ll call, go for coffee or follow up in any way, then make it a priority to do so as soon as possible. If you need to put in into your iPhone to remember, go ahead and say, “I’m going to put this in my calendar so I don’t forget.”

If you make plans to follow-up, keep your promises. Excellent follow-up paves the way to excellent rapport.

4. Send an 'Ask' Email

Now it's time to activate your network to help you in your job search.

Write an 'ask' email to select people in your network who may be able to introduce you to a company you're pursuing. Your email should cover:

  • What you’re currently up to (in case they don't know).

  • What you’re looking to do next (give as much detail as you can).

  • An ask at the end of the email to connect you with anyone they think might be helpful or relevant.

  • Attach your resume or LinkedIn profile URL if appropriate.

Always personalise your 'ask' emails. If you’re asking someone for a favour, like helping you find a new job, they shouldn’t feel like you put zero thought into your note. Maintaining the relationship should be your priority!

5. Keep In Touch

A networking or business event is only the beginning. This is your chance to meet people, help others, and possibly make some follow-up plans. If you make excellent connections, stay in touch with them.

A monthly phone call or e-mail just to say hello is a great way to stay in touch. If you have time for coffee and personal visits, that’s even better. Not everyone will be an excellent contact for you, but those who are valuable are worth your time.

6. Get Expert Advice

Do you have a strategic plan to guide your professional networking?

Reach out to us, we can help you make the most of your network. Book your free session here:

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