Job searches are challenging, especially when you’re in demanding role that’s ending and you know you need to network to find the next one. This is the case of one Build Your Dream Network reader who emailed to ask:
I finished graduate school and am completing a 6-month fellowship. I’m looking now to connect with leaders in my field for opportunities to observe, learn, assist in research etc. I previously reached out to a number of people at the beginning of the year about guidance/advice and asking if they knew of any fellowship opportunities. While I received a few responses, nothing really came of the emails. I’m reaching out again now that I’m coming to the end of my fellowship to ask them again for guidance and advice and any potential opportunities.
Here’s my answer:
In stable economic times, it is hard to keep going back to the same group of people to ask for help in your job search. In difficult or uncertain times, well, it’s even more challenging – as network and personal fatigue may have set in with the people you’re reaching out to for help.
The good news: You’ve narrowed down your job search, identifying the industry, specific role and maybe even the company you want to work for. It also sounds like you previously connected with individuals who are uniquely positioned to know about the type of openings you’re seeking.
Persistence infused with patience is the networking name of the game.
What comes to my networking mind first:
- Review your communications with those you’re wondering about reaching out to again. Were these exchanges only about a job? Did you have any other connection with these people? How did you get introduced to them (personal referral, friend)? What efforts have you made since the dialog dropped off to communicate with them? Recognize they may have been going through a lot this year in their professional and personal lives. They may be bombarded with emails re: job-search help requests. They may be anxious about their own job security. Which leads to the next bullet point….
- Proceed with compassion when you reach out (both to people you previously spoke to and the original referral sources). Acknowledge that you may have dropped the ball in keeping them updated on your internship/fellowship/job search. Provide an update on what you’ve learned and accomplished over the last 6 or so months – and how that has influenced (or not) what you’re aiming to do next. Outline your current focus and efforts you’re undertaking to find roles (in all likelihood they’ll read between the lines that you’re actively job searching however, include “your feedback on the approach I’m taking would be appreciated” if it makes you feel better).
No one answer will result in the unlocking of an opportunity or a timely job lead. It’s a matter of consistency in your networking, pulling up your motivation every day to stick to it. And that can be hard as I know from my own carer change job search (flip to page 70 of Build Your Dream Network).
Eight more (I strongly suggest you implement these) ideas:
- Set Google Alerts on key contacts, companies and roles. The alert will reveal a lead or a topic of conversation or both.
- Develop a job-search CRM for yourself (spreadsheet, app such as UpHabit or even a notebook as was the case for Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, as outlined on page 59 of Build Your Dream Network).
- Read industry publications, newsletters and media sites, as what you read could either reveal opportunity or an idea of how to connect with someone. Which leads to point number 4….
- Pass along or post articles of interest. Don’t assume someone busy in their job has actually had the time to read the content you’re consuming! And it’s actually much easier to send a “thought you’d find this of interest” email versus another “I wonder if you’d heard of any job openings” email.
- Set reminders to reach out (hence where the job-search CRM in number 2 comes in). Outreach could be passing along an article (as noted above) or information on an event or sending the occasional job-search update or letting someone know how you’ve implemented their guidance or advice.
- Join an industry/professional group or meetup. See how you can contribute to help their programming or create content etc. Volunteering, being of service is a great way to build connections, develop skills and showcase your career interests.
- Start a peer-networking group of others you know who are searching for roles in the same industry. You’ll each bring new job search insights, leads and suggestions along with moral support to the table.
- Touch base with your professors, they are part of your network and likely a valuable referral source.
Got a networking question? Ask me! Send your query to firstname.lastname@example.org
Need more networking advice? Check out:
- Ghosting And Being Ghosted During A Job Search
- Stop Asking To “Grab A Coffee” To Land A Job Interview
- Prowling Around The Internet Is The Right Strategy — For Job Seekers
Does your networking need a reboot, refresh aka a makeover? Join #BYDN.