Think You've Exhausted Your Network Contacts? Try This

network contacts

One of the most common complaints I hear from job seekers after about six months or so is that they feel as though they have exhausted their professional network. Does this sound like you?
  • I've asked everyone I know about job openings.
  • I've reached out to people several times now to update them on my job search.
  • I'm tired of having to say "I'm still looking" after all this time.
  • I feel like I'll look desperate if I contact them again.
When we've been looking for work for an extended period of time, we can start to feel like an embarrassment and annoyance to our network. And yet, studies show that the #1 way to get a job right now is through networking. Which means, like it or not, you need to stay in front of these people in the event the day comes when they hear about a job you'd be a fit for.

Solution: Become a Valued News Source

Instead of reaching out to your network and asking for help, turn the situation around by giving help. Become a "content curator." What's that? It's when you research and find a short list of must-read articles your network can use to advance their own careers. Just like a museum curator identifies a collection of must-see art pieces, you can create and distribute a collection of must-see online resources that can provide your network with some valuable advice. The best part is that by sharing these articles with your peers, you show them how professionally savvy you are, enabling you to earn their on-going trust and respect as a professional.

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Meet Carrie: Being a Content Curator Landed Her Job as a Marketing Coordinator

Carrie joined my program after being out of work for eight months. She was frustrated and embarrassed that she hadn't found work. Her previous job had been as an administrative assistant where she had done a variety of tasks. One of her favorite jobs was creating a monthly newsletter for employees. I suggested that she create something similar and send it out to her network. "What would I share?" she asked. I told her to select 10 articles she had found helpful with respect to career development, work-life balance, and other professional topics. She decided to give it a try and even formatted the content like the old newsletter she used to produce. She sent it out to over 200 friends, family, colleagues.

Within a few hours, her email inbox was full of "thank yous" and other kind words about her collection of articles. She was thrilled with how good it made her feel to impact her network so positively. The next day, she got a call from a small business owner. He had been forwarded a copy of her news brief and wanted to know what program she used to design it. When she explained she designed it herself, he invited her to come in for an interview to see if she might want to do a freelance project for him. The interview landed her a full-time job as the owner's marketing coordinator!

It's Time to Job-It-Forward

Curating content and distributing it to your network doesn't have to be a major production. If you don't have any design skills like Carrie, you can still pull together a list of links to useful resources and send it out in a basic email. The point of the exercise is to job-it-forward, aka offer value to those that you hope might be able to return the favor someday. At the very least, it will feel nice to be giving help instead of asking for it, right?

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