By Jodi Reiter
Project Manager, Turning the Corner, LLC
I’m sure you’ve heard many professionals talk about how important it is to network when you are looking for a job. Well, we agree! People are powerful resources, especially the ones you know! We aren’t asking you to beg and plead your friends and family for a job. We are simply asking you to speak with all the people in your life and update them on your job search. Ask yourself:
• Are they someone in a decision making position?
• Do they know someone who is a decision maker and can make an important introduction for you?
You need to work all of these contacts and angles during your job search to maximize your reach.
So, what happens after you reach out?
Document, Document, Document! It’s important to take notes. Otherwise you end up in an endless cycle of follow-ups. Or worse, you forget the individuals you’ve contacted. To keep track of those contacts, we’ve created a Connections Tracking Sheet. Use this sheet to take specific notes, so when you follow up you can reference previous conversations and keep track of their information. To get a copy of our Connections Tracking Sheet, Download here!
Good job! Pat yourself on the back! You have your list of contacts… Now what?
You need a system to be effective and consistent in your follow up process with those contacts. We’ve developed a system that works!
It’s called the “2, 4, 6, 8 System” and it will help you communicate and organize your communication with each person:
2: Respond to people within two days.
Once you are in communication with someone and they reach out to you via voicemail or email remember to always respond back to them as soon as possible. Never wait longer than two days.
4: Think of four strategic contacts to reach out to who can give you a job.
You may have four or more contacts in your Level One connections (your ‘Contact Now’ people). You will begin reaching out to them first.
6: It can take six times of reaching out about unrelated things to get friendly enough with folks to ask for help.
Now you have the communication started with your Level One Connections. You will keep those lines open while you also reach out to Level Two (your ‘Contact Soon’ people) and Three (your ‘Contact in the next week’ people).
Once you have the dialogue going with your connections, or you are making another attempt, remember this:
You know the person you are reaching out to. Talk about other items you may have in common (family, hobbies) or tweet/email them a current news article you found interesting that you think they would appreciate seeing as well.
Don’t be discouraged if they don’t respond to your first communication. We are all busy and they are likely to want to keep you as a connection for themselves as well. So, be patient, but once you have the dialogue going, don’t lose touch (remember number 2).
8: If you haven’t heard back after eight times, close it and spend your energy elsewhere.
If you have not heard back from a connection after eight attempts move onto other individuals on your connections list. You need to keep your momentum and conversations going to find the next position in your career that will make you whole.
Remember: Don’t be afraid to reach out! You never know where opportunities may be waiting for you. If we don’t ask, we will never know and may miss out on our next great thing. We’ve all heard worse things than “no” in our lives, so feel the fear and do it anyway!
If you have found a job and don’t have a contact name, or have applied for a job and didn’t hear anything, don’t get sucked into the black hole! Our Director of Career Services, Ginger Robitaille, has this piece of advice for you:
“If you haven’t heard back after submitting your resume, look for an HR directors email or the department head on the website. If you are not able to find an email address, and have a name, try to figure out how the company emails are set up (for example firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also try to contact through the website if they have a contact form.“