Friday, October 22, 2010

Out of Network

I've always been uncomfortable with networking. This probably comes from my overall dislike for talking on the phone and the feeling that I'm usually bothering others. At this juncture, I really have no choice but to grow a pair and network.

Last week, In Transition Working Girl posted about her best kept secret - networking. She offered excellent advice for reaching out to the people in your network.

Like In Transition Working Girl, someone gave me the advice to start networking when I was in college - my dad. When I began looking for jobs in media and publishing at the end of my senior year of college, my dad sent me dozens and dozens of his contacts to reach out. First, he broke the ice for me and emailed these people, letting them know they would be hearing from me. Next, I had to follow-up. I emailed them all subject "Introduction to Working Girl One," a brief description of what I was looking for in terms of a job and asked if they had any advice, openings or time for an information interview. Several people got back to me and I learned a lot at the time. And that Working Girls, was the last time I really networked.

As I look for a new job, I'm finding I need to work on my networking. I have friends and old co-workers who are already looking out for me. They are checking in on my search, letting me know if anything is opening up at their companies, sending my resume to their HR contacts, etc. I didn't have to do much to enlist their help because they all offered it the moment they heard about my job loss.

While their help is great (I couldn't ask for better friends), I have to do more in this job market. I've got my list of contacts that In Transition Working Girl talked about but I'm stuck on the next step - reaching out to them. Here is why. If I call, am I bothering them, what should I say? If I email, how to do I explain my situation? Do they already know? I haven't spoken to them in months, should I feel bad about reaching out now that I need something? What exactly am I asking for - a job, advice, a recommendation?

I was often annoyed and didn't have the time when people reached out to me at my old job (definitely won't feel that way next time someone reaches out to me). So I guess I'll start with reaching out to the people I'm most comfortable with and figure out what I'm asking of them. Once I reach out, I'll definitely be using some of In Transition Working Girl's tips. Wish me luck!


Nicole said...

Ugh!! I hate the phone too, so I fully understand the dislike for networking. NOT fun.

Guilty of Gossip said...

Yeah- i am with you- its hard, you feel like every person you meet you are trying to work an angle with to find a new or better job- but i've actually had a few successful networking moments which have provided me with some great opportunities!

Amy said...

I hate networking too! And the phone! In all situations... The nice thing about networking now is that you can do it online - through sites or e-mail, which is less awkward and intrusive than the phone, IMO. I would just send a short e-mail mentioning to keep you in mind if anyone hears of any openings - leave it open to the person whether they have the time to help.