To find employment you need to rely on the perfect mixture of both WHO and WHAT you know. The ability to leverage your individual relationships is key. Leveraging relationships allows you to learn about potential employment opportunities as well as get the first of many personal introductions.
Of course, this kind of activity is only valuable if you are skilled and capable in the positions you are seeking. If you are not, you may quickly burn those bridges and handicap your ability to rely on these sources to find employment.
Let’s assume you have the necessary skills for the positions you are seeking. Start asking yourself, “Who do I know?” At first this may seem like a silly question, as we all know and interact with many people. However this is the time to be specific. What organizations are you affiliated with directly (church, sports, hobbies, neighborhood watch, professional associations, etc…)? Now consider those you may be secondarily affiliated with. These might include activities your spouse, children, friends or other family members participate in.
When you are focused on wanting or needing to find employment, it is easy to forget about these connections or simply not take the time to consider the possibilities. As you review the list, who on it is employed by or associated with an organization you have wanted to interview with? Or, who is in YOUR industry that might have a line on current employment activities and/or opportunities?
Now that you have identified a few opportunities to help you find employment, it is important to consider how you will “make the ask”. Do you just want to pick their brain for an hour? Or, are you looking for a very specific introduction to a hiring manager? When leveraged properly, these relationships become your very own sales force. Once people are aware of what you are looking for, their awareness to opportunities becomes heightened.
It is important to broaden your approaches to find employment, by identifying others that can help you with open ears and an open mind. And, just like with a sales force for a traditional product, as long as you have been specific about what they are selling (your skills, abilities, and appropriate positions) you may just be surprised how quickly one of your sales force is able to find employment opportunities that are perfect for you.