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Though 50% of my current sales are generated from referrals (generally, from past clients) and repeat clients, one of my primary business goals always involves increasing the percentage of new business generated through word-of-mouth sources. I’ve read and studied a number of books on this subject and on developing a referral marketing strategy. Throughout the process, I’ve been trying to stretch my thinking “out of the box” to think about ways people in my personal and professional network can help to promote my business and increase my “word of mouth” sales. In doing so, it occurred to me how similar this process is to the networking that I encourage my clients to do in their job searches. That has led me to develop this list of “10 Ways Your Network Contacts Can Help With Your Job Search”
1. Help distribute your resume and other career marketing documents to individuals in their personal and professional networks.
Provide everyone in your network with at least a few copies of your resume and any other career marketing documents they are using. Your contacts will often be more than happy to help pass along your resume to people in their own network who may be aware of opportunities or are able to help with your search in other ways.
2. Talk about you, your current career goals, and your value proposition at meetings.
Individuals in your network can help promote you as a “solution to an employer’s problem” by discussing your qualifications and current job search at meetings and events they attend.
3. Invite you to attend events, such as personal or business meetings, workshops, or seminars.
Attending various events and programs are an excellent way to increase your visibility and contacts as well as knowledge and skills in areas relevant to your industry and profession. Individuals in your network can help by inviting you to the meetings, workshops, and seminars they attend.
4. Nominate you for business or community recognition and awards.
As a recipient of awards or special recognition for business achievements or for donating your time or resources to a worthy cause, you distinguish yourself as a leader. This is an excellent way to increase your visibility and contacts, and members of your network can help by nominating you or otherwise making award committees aware of your activities.
5. Pass along information and leads.
Members of your professional network can help you immensely by remembering you as they go through their day, and passing along tidbits of information that they think might help you in your search. This could be anything from news reports of trends impacting your industry, reports of companies that are growing or expanding, job announcements that they read, or simply leads on current or future job openings that they have been made aware of.
6. Provide you with referrals.
One of the top ways your network members can help you is by passing along the names and contact information for specific individuals who are either the decision-makers for jobs that match your target or are in a position to help you with your job search in other ways.
7. Make initial contact regarding current or future job opportunities.
Better even than passing along referrals, if an individual in your network becomes aware of a job opportunity, and they have a personal or professional connection with the decision-maker for that opportunity, they can make contact on your behalf. That way, when you follow up with, the decision-maker will already be expecting to hear from you.
8. Introduce you to decision-makers and leaders within your target profession and industry.
An immense help in building new relationships is to receive a personal introduction. Members of your network can help by introducing you to people they believe you should meet regarding your job search, and can even help by telling the person about you, sharing some of the things you have in common with the person, and talking a bit about your qualifications and professional background.
9. Help to arrange meetings on your behalf.
When a member of your network tells you about a person you should meet regarding your job search, he or she can help by actually arranging for a meeting between the two of you and setting up the details, such as time, date, and location.
10. Follow up on referrals they have given you.
After they have referred you, your contacts can follow up with the contact to see how things went, to answer questions, to discuss your background, and to reinforce your value proposition.
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