Alright, so my last post was about using social networking. Today, more detail on the other kind of networking seems warranted.
People who are looking for work over a long period or have been unemployed for a long period of time can be scared to death of networking. It does require that you get out of the shell that you’ve built around yourself, and go meet some people. Not just anyone, but the right kinds of people.
You can sometimes start this by working on the phone, provided you can get to the people that you need to speak to. At some point, your potential boss will want to see you in person. This is pretty common in the service industry (restaurants, retail, customer service), although far less so in industries that promote a work at home kind of approach. How do you meet those in-person people? You stop in at their place of business during a non-rush period. Try first thing in the morning, and if that doesn’t work, one hour before the close of business. Avoid approaching them during rush periods, like meal times in a restaurant, or first thing when the phones start in your local doctor, dentist or veterinarian’s office. If you’ve been referred by a member of your network, that’s your leverage when it comes to introducing yourself. “Hi, I’m Elaine. Jeff Rogers said that he called you yesterday and I wanted to thank you in person for taking his call, and stop in to see if we could set up a time to meet. I also have a resume here if you would like to take a look at it.” Notice that you aren’t asking for the meeting right now, but at a time that is convenient. You won’t endear yourself if you are interrupting for more than a brief moment, and if things work well and they like your approach and time permits, they will invite you for a chat right then.
Use your network, and remember to thank them all for their help as you explore the thing that you are looking for. Also keep in mind that people can't refer you to anyone if they don't know you well enough, but you might be able to influence them enough to ask for an introduction.
Go get 'em!