Sunday, May 12, 2013

“What Happens When I Run Out of Network?”

“What if I run out of network?  What do I do then?”

Well, if you’re doing it right, you never do!

There are a lot of things to worry about when you are looking for a job or a new or expanded role.  But . . . happily . . . this is not one of them!

Upon deciding to look for a new job, most job seekers begin to reach out to the people they know  -  their colleagues, friends, and family.  It's a good place to start!

Don't let the well rung dry!
However, the well can run dry if you continuously reach out to the same group of people, . . . over and over and over again!  There will come a time when they have helped about as much as they can.  They’d still like to help but their well has run dry, and they can’t think of any more ways to help . . . at least at that point.

Where job seekers fall short in networking is failing to utilize the “multiplier effect.”  Each person you contact certainly has their own sphere of contacts.  By tapping into your contact’s contacts, you expand your network – the multiplier effect.  Meeting with one person yields 2 or 3 or 5 new members into your own network.

By failing to find a way to tap into your networks’ network, you fail to expand your own network . . . or at least limit its growth.  So, keep priming the pump and your own network will expand so that you “never run out of network.”

Remember to ask a Target Question
How do you prime the pump, i.e., grow your network?  By remembering to ask an important question, each and every time you interact with a member of your own network and anyone you meet in your various job search activities.  Remember to include one of the 4 Target Questions whenever you talk with folks, in whichever of the variations shown below that is most comfortable for you:

        1.    Variation 1:  “Do you know of any other good people in your network that it would be good for me to talk with?”  
        2.    Variation 2:  “Can you think of some other good people I should be talking to?"
        3.    Variation 3: “Are there people you know whom you think it would be good for me to talk with?”
            a.    “Who are they?”
            b.    “Please tell me a little about them.”

Repeat the question!
Ask this question 2 or 3 times throughout the conversation.  Work it in as appropriate to the conversation’s flow.  Sometimes it may take a while for your contact to think of people who could be helpful to you. 

As you talk, something you say may jog the memory of your contact.  As your network contact begins to understand your search objective, and scans through their network of names, they are more likely to identify some folks who could be helpful to you.  As they do,  and refer you to folks they know, your own network begins to grow!

So, don't forget
So, don't forget to ask the key Target question that gets your contact thinking about people who could be helpful to you.

If you do, your network will grow and you'll meet some interesting, knowledgeable, and helpful people that may become contacts, colleagues, and even friends for years to come.

 . . .  It’s a Smart Strategy!    

  For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles listed under the Articles Archives tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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