People often have limited ideas around networking, with many job seekers assuming that only former co-workers and people in the same industry should be part of their networks.
But you need to think in broader terms, and consider everyone you know, including people in personal services industries, and acquaintances from your community as part of your network.
You would be amazed, for example, at the number of people your barber/hairdresser, accountant, lawyer, preacher/priest, or mail carrier know and speak to every day. There’s no telling how many contacts they have in your community, or who they might know at the companies that interest you.
Even a casual conversation with someone in this extended network could yield valuable information.
✦ To get the most out of these conversations, be clear about what you want to do next. No rambling speeches about the myriad ideas you have. Be focused and concise. ✦
Answer casual “How are you?” questions in a way that serves as a call to action, like this:
The Barber: “Hey Bob, how’s it going?”
You: “Good, thanks! I’m actually really excited right now about looking for a new job. I’m hoping to get on as a logistics coordinator at one of the big manufacturers here in town. What’s up with you?”
The Barber: “Really, I didn’t know that’s what you do. Have you talked to Stan down at Wingdings Consolidated? He’s in here every six weeks or so and he’s always talking about needing good people.”
You: “Wow, that’s great to hear! I didn’t know Wingdings was hiring. Do you happen to know Stan’s last name?”
The Barber: “Yeah, it’s Stan Doe, I think he’s the general manager out there. Do you want me to tell him about you the next time he comes in?”
You: “Sure, that would be great, thanks so much!”
If you have a few of these types of conversations every week, it won't be long before you've networked your way into a new job!