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Expanding Your Networking Contacts

Today we have another guest post from my career partner, Miriam Salpeter. With over 10 years of experience, Miriam's mission is to encourage, enlighten and empower job seekers for success. Don't launch your search without her toolbox of up-to-date tips and support. Miriam's clients gain confidence, clarity and job search know-how! Visit her site to learn more.

Expanding Your Networking Contacts

I was recently speaking to a client about his search and offering him some tips to rev up his hunt. I said, “Talk to people you don’t think can help you.” Silence…”People who CAN’T help?,” he asked, incredulously. Absolutely! You never know where the next lead may be or where an important piece of information is lurking.

Talk to people who CAN’T help you with your search. Expand the reach of your networking contacts. You never know when a connector is in your midst – someone who takes pride in knowing a lot of people and introducing them to each other.

I keep a close eye on career and resume trends by reading books, blogs and keeping in touch with my advisory board of professionals in an array of industries.  

When I’m not writing resumes, coaching, blogging and reading, in the spirit of ”practice what you preach,” I also frequently meet people for “informational interviews.” I attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, visit close-contact networking groups and seek out an array of networking opportunities.  It is amazing to me how our need for networking (as entrepreneurs and as job seekers) has spawned a whole industry of people for whom networking is actually their business!

I’ve been to coffee with real estate professionals, a dentist, investment advisors, life coaches, travel professionals, vitamin sales people, photographers and a salesperson trainer, just to name a few.  It never ceases to amaze me how much we have to share with each other, and the possible “touch points” between our businesses or our networks. 

Taking the time to meet these professionals offers me the opportunity to share information about my business, but more importantly, I have a chance to learn about programs, events and opportunities I might never have considered.  I also try to share something that will help them and offer to be a resource.

In a recession, it is even more important to expand our circles when job seeking. 

Some lessons:

Never underestimate the possibility for really interesting common ground.  Some of the meetings I’ve least felt like getting up at 6 a.m. to attend have been the most productive in terms of what I’ve learned.

Open your eyes to the opportunities!  Seek out places to meet new people.  Join an organization, a new health club or take a class.  Google “networking opportunities, (your city)” and see what comes up!  Then, don’t just attend, be an active participant.

Just because someone isn’t in your field doesn’t mean they don’t have useful information for you.  (Or you for them.) Our lives intersect in so many points.  Think of someone you consider least likely to be able to share good information with you for your search. Meet for coffee. You may be surprised!

I challenge you to engage – ask questions…be able to explain who you are and what you do.  Don’t underestimate the value of every connection.  Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows something. Inserting yourself as part of the chain is a great step in the right direction!

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Here's to having a career you love!
Hallie Crawford
Career Transition Coach