Whenever a client asks me if I know of alternatives to sites like Monster, I ask if they have started asking friends or family about leads. Usually, they say they don’t want to or that they tried, but the person they asked said the company they work for isn’t hiring. Calling friends and family to ask if they know about any job openings probably isn’t going to get you very far because the answer is either that they know of some, and they refer you to someone else with little or no preparation, or, they don’t know of any and that’s the end of your conversation.
Of course, the underlying hope of making professional contacts is that eventually, you will stumble upon a few job leads, but showing interest in your field, and the people in it is even more important than showing interest in finding a job. By doing your homework on what you need to find out to make yourself the best possible job candidate, and by finding out how each person you speak with can be helpful to you, you can transform warm calls, and cold calls into strong professional relationships.
- Find out as much as you can about the person you plan to speak to. Try a quick Google search by the person’s name. You also may want to check-out their profile on LinkedIn.
- Help your contacts help you. Be clear about the information you need and prepare concise, specific questions before your meeting.
- Focus on questions and topics that relate to the person you are speaking with and the projects that s/he is involved with. Avoid asking about what other people in the organization may or may not think of you and your potential in the field. If the meeting goes well, you should try to get contact information so you can speak get other perspectives directly from the other people.
Once you start viewing meetings as an opportunity to learn more about a field and an organization rather than fishing expeditions for job leads, you will be amazed how many people will be happy to talk to you.