Job Search Tip
People you have worked with in the past are a big networking opportunity for you in your quest to find a new job.
- They can pass on job leads to you. People in your career space will naturally hear about job openings and happenings in other companies. If it’s not something that interests them for whatever reason (wrong skill set, wrong location, happy where they are, etc.), they can tell you about it.
- If there’s an opening in the company they currently work for, they could very well be your ticket that gets you in the door. A hiring manager can’t help but be interested in talking to someone that a valued employee says is great. In fact, that happens to be many hiring managers’ preferred first step in hiring: Asking their current employees if they know of anyone who’s looking for a job. If someone who is valued at a company says about you, “Hey, you should talk to this person. They are fantastic,” then you can be assured of a phone interview, at the very least. They are going to look at you. You might not get hired, but you will get a look.
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Recommendations like that are very powerful. (Of course, they have to be a valued employee, first. Make sure the person you’re dealing with has a good reputation, or they’ll sink you along with them.)
Ideally, you’ve maintained a great network of co-workers through regular communication with them. I recommend that you email or message people in your network every 3-6 months or so with some article or bit of information they would find interesting. If you nurture your network, it will be there for you when you need it.
What if you haven’t kept in touch with everyone you’ve worked with? It’s time to reach out.
Start with social networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus. Feel free to ask to connect with them on LinkedIn, and then you can message them as you need to in order to have that conversation with them.
Since Facebook is more socially-focused, I don’t know that I would automatically friend everyone I’d previously worked with. You can, but you can always message them through Facebook without being their official friend.
Google Plus is more business-focused (like LinkedIn), so it’s OK to connect with them there and add them to your circles. Google Plus does make it easy to categorize people and put them into particular groups, so this one is easy for most people.
As you contact them, just tell them that you’re looking for work. Tell them what skills or education you’ve gained since you worked with them and ask if they know anyone you should talk to. They might not know of any openings in their company, but they might know about opportunities elsewhere. If they do have an opening in the company they currently work for, they should be an excellent resource for you to guide you through the process and point you in the right direction of who to talk to.
Either way, previous co-workers are a great resource for your job search.
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