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Extreme Job Search Strategies - Networking

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Many new jobs can be found through the process of knowing someone who knows someone who knows about a job. When you’re laid off, you might think you can dive right into your contact list and call on your old network of colleagues and business associates, and it will be easy to reconnect. It can turn out that your list is sorely out-of-date; often many of your co-workers have moved on and finding them can be a challenge. The lesson: you always have to be prepared – you may not work at the same company for 50 years.
Many laid-off professionals who’ve worked at the same company – or just a few firms – over their careers may find that their networks have gone stale. Luckily, there are ways to jump start a network that’s out-of-date and to rebuild rapport with former friends and colleagues.
  • First, you actually have to find these people. The email address you used a year ago may yield only a bounce back message now. Start with emailing former colleagues, do internet searches, and ask former co-workers to reconnect you to people they have stayed in touch with. It’s not uncommon to have trouble locating former managers for references.

  • Social and business networking sites liked LinkedIn and Plaxo are good ways to find connections. You can search by name or company to find old acquaintances. Personalize your network invitation request with a memory the two of you shared or a reminder of who you are. Once you’ve re-established your relationship, you can also view the friends of your connections and request an introduction to people at companies that interest you.

  • If you already have a LinkedIn account, or other social networking profile, keep it current. An update on one person’s LinkedIn status indicating that he was “up for grabs” spurred one of his contacts to alert him to a job opportunity.

  • Once you’ve located people in your old network, a simple email or phone call can re-open dialogue. Of course, it can be daunting or uncomfortable contacting people you haven’t spoken to in years, especially when you’ve just been laid off.

  • After you’ve made contact, arrange a meeting. Email and networking sites speed up the communication, but they don’t do the networking for you. Career coaches say it’s critical to set up in-person meetings and attend networking events. Be mindful of your contact’s time; you might not be the only one asking for help. Ask for 10 minutes to chat, or offer to catch up over coffee or lunch.