What’s the best way to reach out to your network? Don’t be too general, for starters!
Regular readers have seen all the special pre-launch posts to preface introducing You Need a Job: 5 Steps to Get One, which I co-authored with Hannah Morgan. Some of the posts we ran included tips from our colleagues about what job seekers should NOT do. One friend and expert expanded on her tip and offered additional, great advice, and I am happy to share it today!
Chris Havrilla is a recruiting and sourcing leader with her own company, Havrilla, LLC. Additionally, she is the Principal Consultant at Recruiting Toolbox, Inc, aÂ management consulting, training and tools company that focuses 100% on helping companies recruit better. Chris is also VP of social media for SHRM-Atlanta and blogs (along with the also terrific Teela Jackson) on RecruiterChicks.com. Chris is a great thought leader, and one of the “good guys.” You’ll want to pay attention to her advice about how to reach out to your network!
These are Chris’ suggestions to help you avoid being too general when you turn to your network:
Have a pretty solid idea of the type of role you want and if possible the ideal target companies — and what it is based on â€¦ location, industry, size, anything applicable.Â Be able to explain the why’s, as well as anything you don’t want.Â This will make it easier for whoever you ask for help to take a targeted approach, and it also helps demonstrate that you know who you are, what you are seeking, how you can/will add value and why these organizations need to have you to take their teams or organizations to the next level.
This approach pushes some of the ownership back on you and means you need to think through all of this stuff and do some research and footwork, but doing a job search is just like building a business — it needs to be focused. Frankly, you don’t want somebody else assuming what your vision, values and goals are.
The advantages to this approach are huge:
- You are not leaving it up to someone to assume what you want and why. The key is giving people actionable tasksâ€¦people are more willing to help when they know what to do and why.
- You are arming people with the data and direction they need to help you best.
- It will also help you figure out who all can best help you and how — and then use your network accordingly.
Once you know what you are looking for and can articulate it, be sure you know how to best utilize that network. Give people direct, easily actionable tasks.Â For instance, there is a big difference between the more vague, general inquiry:
“I am looking/open to new opportunities, here is a copy of my resume — I was hoping you could help me?Â Or… “Could you please keep your eyes and ears open?”Â compared to the preferred:
“Hi _____, I noticed on LinkedIn that you have some connections at Company X, and I would like to apply/I am applying for a Sales Director role that is perfect as I have the industry experience, but also worked for their biggest competitor for three years.Â This experience with their current and target customer base, in addition to the insider knowledge of their marketplace should help me be productive in a much shorter time frame than most candidates.Â Would you mind helping me make a connection with a hiring manager or their recruiter?
“I am looking for a position that leverages my deep experience in organizational design and transformation/talent development & management/fill-in-blank-here — I noticed in LinkedIn you have several connections at Coca-Cola and they actually have an open position for ____________, if I wrote an introduction, would you be willing to send it to one of your contacts so I can try and get my foot in the door?Â I have worked with several CPG companies and believe that I can leverage that experience and industry knowledge with myâ€¦.”
For Twitter or Facebook –
“Hey Friends/Tweeps, do any of you have a connection in the Talent Management team at Children’s Healthcare and would you be willing to make an intro?” (Note I did not say reference/referral, save that for the people you have direct work experience with that you can ask personally/directly.)
This upfront time and thoughtful approach can make all the difference.
Thanks so much to Chris for her generous tips. Keep these in mind when you prepare to network!
photo byÂ Bilal Kamoon