Job leads come in many forms. In this article, I want to focus in on those job leads that come from your network, and how to generate them
You may be familiar with the concept of six degrees of separation. This premise of this concept is that within six layers of connection, you can get in touch with anyone on the planet. To relate this concept to networking for a job, within three degrees of separation (knowing someone who knows someone) you are likely to be able to find the hiring manager about two-thirds of the time. Three degrees of separation is more than enough to generate a substantial number of job leads.
Before your network can provide you with leads, they need to know you are in a job search, and they need to know what you are looking for. If you have already sent out your announcement of availability to announce your search and you are keeping your network informed through your status updates, your network should be generally aware of what you need.
Now is the time to start mining your network and making personal contacts to make individual requests for job lead help. It can take a lot of time to find, network in, conduct informational interviews, and expand your network inside a target company. Putting the effort in on the front end of the job search is the most effective way to have a shorter job search.
Start with your Linked In contacts, review them, and build a list of the top 10 most likely to be able to help you. Search their backgrounds and contacts for people in the industries and companies. Contact the people on your list and request a warm introduction to their connections, with the purpose of being introduced for an informational interview. When successfully linked, schedule an appointment for coffee, lunch or just a visit (in person is preferable to by phone) so you can learn more about the industry/company and share your particulars with them. Ask your new connections to introduce you to others for additional informational interviews.
Once your top ten is fully worked, re-examine your contacts for the next ten, and as they say in the shampoo industry, rinse, lather, repeat. Working your contacts in small groups like this generate activity at a level you are likely able to sustain in terms of responsiveness and appointment times on calendars. Too few, and not enough progress or activity is generated. Too much, and you won’t be able to respond and keep up with the demand, alienating your network.
Join the LinkedIn groups related to your interests – industry, company, professional. These groups often have local chapters or affiliates, attend the local meetings to continue building your network. At those meetings, introduce yourself with your 30 second or 2 minute drill, pass out business cards and ask if it is okay for you to send your new contacts a Linked In introduction. As your network grows, and you work the “top ten” segments of your network, these new connections will filter in to the segments.
Tweet My Jobs and Tweet My Resume on Twitter are social networking tools you can use to augment your job lead generation. By following and being followed on Twitter, you are developing another aspect of getting your network involved in generating job leads for you.
Remember to track this activity on your job log, you’ll need it to help you keep track of your interactions with your network and develop/complete your action items.
The more contacts you build and informational interviews you hold in your target industries and target companies, the better the chances are of getting job leads in the areas of your interests.
Social Media sites like Linked In, Facebook, Google + and Twitter offer additional important channels to develop job leads. Getting your announcement of availability out to your network and using the status update to keep your network informed is easier than ever with Social Media.
Using the Social Media sites to post job search activity updates will help keep you top of mind in the networkers that frequently use these sites.