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How to "Network" Your Way to a Job
From Vaughn Thurman, Swift Systems, Inc.:
When you are out of work, it's easy to go into turtle mode, hoping to only have to re-emerge to face all of your friends later... Later with good news that is, news of your great new job. Don't do that. That misses the great opportunity where your friends could BE the path to that great next job. We at Swift are far more eager to hire someone recommended by one of our trusted team, a personal friend, or a business associate who knows us well.
After all, hiring a perfect stranger holds lots of risk. They may not be who they appear to be, even if they do have the skills we need.
So how do we get referred in? Well, almost nobody likes to call on an old friend and ask them for help finding a job, and old friends don't really want you to call them to put your job hunt on their backs either, so just don't. Rather, call them and ask if you can take them to lunch, tell them about how your career has been developing and ask their advice on what you should go for next. After all, none of us mind calling and old friend for advice, right? Old friends also usually never mind being called and told "You are so wise and successful that I really want to hear what you think about my situation."
It is funny how when you ask for help you often only get advice, yet when you ask for advice many people instead want to show you the way and even
feel inclined to help you get there.
Networking is about meeting people you don't know, and reconnecting with the people you do know and getting them to feel like recommending you to someone else. If you sense that someone on your list could help or offer some useful advice, figure out how to run into them at community events, church, little league, etc. Then, whatever you do, don't ask for help. Ask for advice. They might just think of some friend who could use someone just like you.