Your Search for a Job will be Easier if You Learn to Prioritize Networking Contacts

Business Luncheon NetworkWe all know that networking is the key to finding a new job today. You need the skills and experience, of course, but who you know is usually an important factor in landing both interviews and job offers. But your search for a job will be a more difficult one until you learn how to prioritize when networking.

Simply put, some of your contacts are more important than others. Your next-door neighbor might be a nice guy, but the odds of him helping you land an interview with a coveted employer are pretty low. On the other hand, an executive with whom you once worked to develop a marketing campaign might be able to introduce you personally to a high-level manager at an important company in your field.

The lesson? Focus more of your networking skills on reaching the latter rather than the former type of contact.

Reaching the Decision-Makers

Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to reach the most important members of your business contacts; many you can simply call up. You might schedule a lunch date with a former boss with whom you’re still on good terms. A former college professor might be more than happy to meet you for a brief meeting after teaching hours end. Who knows how many former co-workers would be willing to meet with you for a quick drink after the workday?

And during these meetings – at which you’ll pick up the tab, of course – you can pick the brains of these important business contacts. You can ask them if they’ve heard of any job openings in your field. You can ask if any of them would be willing to write you a personal letter of recommendation or whether any would be willing to arrange a meeting between you and managers at big companies in your field.

Don’t think of this as an imposition; it’s important in your efforts to find a career. And those business contacts with whom you maintain regular correspondence will not think of your requests as being a burden.

Social Events

There are some important business professionals in your industry whom you can’t simply call or e-mail, but you can meet these people at business and social events.

Maybe a local entrepreneur is speaking at the chamber of commerce luncheon this month. You should attend and attempt to say a few quick words with this business pro during or after the event. You never know where even a quick conversation can lead.

Maybe you can speak at a local social organization function about your industry. Someone in the audience might work in your field, and might be impressed by your knowledge.

Networking is a full-time job. You need to be honing your networking skills at all times.

Social Media

Finally, don’t forget to target your most important business contacts through such social media sites as Facebook, Twitter, and especially LinkedIn. Through these sites, you can communicate instantly with each high-level business contact in your network. You can even arrange contacts so that your most important contacts don’t receive the same general messages that others receive.

If you need help in your search for a job or if you need tips on prioritizing your business contacts, sign up for our Get Hired Boot Camp.

, , , , , ,