Job search strategy evolves at a rapid speed – what worked the last time you looked for a job will likely not be as effective this time around. Take the resume - historically, it was believed to be the key to landing the job of your dreams. Job searchers used resumes as calling cards and applied for job after job online. Today’s job seekers should not rely on the “apply and wait” approach. Instead, they should spend their time focusing on what matters in today’s market – relationships! And this means elevating your networking game, a tricky maneuver with the shift to virtual work in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Use these three questions to guide your virtual networking plan.
1. Can I get your opinion?
It can often feel uncomfortable approaching a member of our network out of the blue. Instead of reaching out with the sole intent of telling them you are on the job hunt, try a different approach to take some of the pressure off both of you. Ask if you can set up a call to get their opinion on your search plan. There are several benefits to this approach. First off, it shows you have put considerable thought and time into your job search. (You obviously need to invest time to prepare a plan for this approach to be successful!). Additionally, it shows that you value their advice as a trusted member of your network. People generally like being asked to provide feedback.
2. What can I do for you?
In an ideal world, you keep up with your network on a regular basis. If you have not found the time to do so, look for opportunities to offer help or support them. While you may initially feel like you have nothing to offer as a job seeker, this is simply not true. Help can be packaged in all shapes and sizes. It could be forwarding an article on a topic that may be of interest to them. It could be offering to speak to their child on your field of study or industry in which you worked. Try this approach if you want to re-engage your network without immediately asking for a favor.
3. Who else do you suggest I speak with?
Your network likely includes family, friends and work colleagues. But don’t stop there – it can also include neighbors you wave to on your daily walk, staffing agency recruiters, and those you share common interests with on LinkedIn. Theoretically, your network multiplies exponentially with each new addition because they bring their own network to the table. In essence, their network helps grow your own group of connections. A good question to ask any new connection is, “Whom else do you suggest I speak with?” Good people know good people, and most people enjoy connecting two people from different parts of their lives.
Today’s job search is defined by a “relationship market.” Maintaining and building your network is central to successfully landing a new job and does not have to be put on hold during the pandemic. This begs the question – what are you waiting for?