Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If you dread a networking call, read this article

Today I received an interesting newsletter article from TheLadders.com website and I want to share it with you:
"Even if you're a sociable, gregarious, people-loving person, the "networking" phone call can be a dreaded task in the job search. You feel like you're imposing, and it feels awkward to ring up your friends, former colleagues, and college buddies to ask for a favor from such a helpless position.

So here's how to stop worrying and learn to love the networking call.

The tip, which I picked up from John Lucht in his book "Rites of Passage", is this:

"Don't ask for a job, ask for a reference."

Asking someone to be a reference is an easy way to make networking a positive experience.

You see, everybody hates to say "no" to a request from somebody they know. And when you call your contacts and ask if they know of any jobs out there, you're putting them in the position where they have to say "no" to you. Because, as you've found out in your job search, digging up information on where the jobs are is tough (that, by the way, is why I invented TheLadders seven years ago). And it's pretty unlikely that your friend has been spending as much time as you have hunting high and low to find out about new openings.

So asking for job information or job leads makes networking uncomfortable for both of you.

To make it easy for them to say "yes", you need to ask them for something that is easy to say "yes" to.

So when you call your old colleague or contact, ask them if, when the time is right in your job search, it would be possible to use them as a reference.

It doesn't cost them anything to say "yes" to that request, it's an easy way for them to feel like they are being helpful, and it makes the call much more comfortable for both of you.

And now that you've turned the networking call from a negative conversation to a positive one, both you and your contact will feel better about the interaction.

That's important, because positive interactions make your contacts more inclined to help you. They may even feel a little bit honored that you think highly enough of their opinion to ask them to be a reference.

So now, as they go about their business, they'll not be screening your calls to avoid further awkward interactions, but instead they'll be a little bit more inclined to keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities that might make sense for you.

If they overhear something at the club, if their cousin mentions a corporate expansion, if there's some trade rag gossip on positions opening up, they're much more likely to want to reach out to let you know that there might be an opportunity for you.

So my best advice, handed down to me from an expert with forty years of recruiting experience, is this: don't ask for a job, ask for a reference.

And you may never dread a networking call again."

Hope it helps!

3 comments:

Rinkesh said...

Thanks for the information. I was looking for it for some days. Really appreciated.
Dallas Nanny

Withnail said...

Great advice. The other aspect I would add to those phonecalls is to ask for an introduction to someone else. That way you keep the connections flowing, and its much easier to ask someone for advice/information when you have been introduced by someone they trust.

Withnail said...

Great advice. The other aspect I would add to those phonecalls is to ask for an introduction to someone else. That way you keep the connections flowing, and its much easier to ask someone for advice/information when you have been introduced by someone they trust.

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