Massey University CareerplaNZ

Career and student learning issues brought to you by Massey University’s Careers Service – New Zealand

People who need people

Posted by John Ross on January 28, 2009

Make no mistake, for job seekers the recession makes it all the more crucial to get and stay connected.


Contacts are vital.  They are hugely important sources of information on roles; employers and sectors.  Not only that, they can be great ways of discovering opportunities that might never be advertised. 


More than ever before, job search is an exercise in sales – with you the product.  To sell takes confidence and confidence comes through knowing the product – who you are; what you can offer; who might be interested in what you can offer and why.


When building a network of contacts it’s the norm to start with family and friends.  However, they too will know people who might join your network – and you can find other contacts through relevant professional associations; business groups and the like.


Once you have started to think about who could be in your network, you’ll want to consider how to make contact.  Do you call people; email them or meet with them?  Could you explore events that you could attend – perhaps run by professional bodies?  These can be a great way of keeping up-to-date with trends in a sector or profession; attendance will look good in your CV and they offer the chance to meet people with similar interests to yours.


Where you know of organisations that you’d like to work for, it may pay dividends to contact their human resources people – not necessarily to ask about jobs in the first instance – but to see if it’s possible to be put in touch with staff doing the type(s) of work that interest you.


When networking, it’s important to think of why you’re doing so.  Consider what you want; why people might want to help you and how you might best elicit their help.  Issues to consider might include:


·        Am I most interested in information about possible roles; trends in a sector or what particular organisations are like to work for?



·        How can I get contacts to help?  For example, by showing interest in them; by being clear about what I want from them and by giving them options on how to get back to me.



·        In what ways might I develop a good range of contacts?  It’s vital not to take only one person’s word on an issue.  Also, people who offer to help you will have their own reasons and motivations for helping – what might they be?



·        Am I most confident emailing; on the ‘phone or face-to-face?  This will influence how to contact people on your network.


·        How prepared am I to ‘sell’ myself?  If my contacts are probing my background and knowledge of the role/sector I’m interested in could I answer confidently?




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