People You Know

 

group business professionals

You may think that you don’t know anyone who can help you build your network. In all honesty, you know more people than you think.  

There’s a very good chance that at least a few of these people know someone who can give you career advice or point you to a job opening. How will you ever know if you don’t ask? 

Who's in Your Network?

Your network is typically bigger than you think it is. It includes all of your family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, and even casual acquaintances.

Write down the names of everyone you can think of and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the list grows. Checking your accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn are great ways to get your list started.  If you're not on Facebook or LinkedIn, this is a great time to start. 

People you know from former jobs, high school and college, church, your child’s school, the gym, or your neighborhood should all be considered part of your network.  Who have you met through your close connections?  For example, have you met your sister’s co-worker; your best friend’s boss; your college roommate’s spouse; friends of your parents; or your uncle’s business partner. Also include people like your doctor, landlord, accountant, dry cleaner, or yoga instructor.

Your Network's Power

Now we have determined that you already have an established network and it's definitely better than you think:

  • You belong to many networks (family, friends, colleagues, fellow civic club members, etc.) and your network can be a natural extension of these primary contacts.
  • Each network connects you to another network (e.g., your child’s teacher can connect you with other parents, schools of education, and school suppliers).
  • Each member of a network may know of an available job or a connection to someone who will know of one.

It's common to be nervous about making contact.  Either because you’re uncomfortable asking for favors; you’re embarrassed about your employment situation; or some other variable specific to your situation.  Keep the following things in mind:

  • It feels good to help others. Most people will gladly assist you if they can.
  • People like to give advice and be recognized for their expertise.
  • Almost everyone knows what it’s like to be out of work or looking for a job. They’ll sympathize with your situation.
  • Unemployment can be isolating and stressful. By connecting with others, you’re sure to get some much needed encouragement, fellowship, and moral support.
  • Even if you have an agenda, reconnecting with the people in your network should be fun. The more this feels like work, the more tedious and anxiety driven the process will seem. 
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