In your professional career, networking is important. But, when you are looking for a job, it becomes crucial. When you have lost your job, either by being laid-off, quit or were fired, it can be difficult to talk to your professional acquaintances and tell them about your employment situation. Even when you have been down-sized and forced to find a new job, through no fault of your own, confession to a lack of employment feels shameful to most people.
So, how can you go about breaking the ice with people in your network and ask them for any help they can give. Here are some tips to help you get started connecting with your professional contacts:
Ask them if they would be willing to give you a reference – Just asking people if they know of any job leads can feel uncomfortable. Not only that, there are still some people who may judge you for your lack of employment. And really, asking if they know of any job leads doesn't really engage people or get them invested in your job search. Try asking the people you know if they would be willing to provide you with a reference if you need it. Assure them that you have other references, and are looking for a few others “just in case”. This way, you have an opening to tell them a little about your employment situation and what type of job you are looking for. Remember to keep anything you say upbeat. Don't try to play on their sympathy. The goal here is to present yourself as a consummate professional who is looking for a new position and optimistic about their prospects.
Another tactic you could try is to ask them who they think you should talk to next. People love to give advice, so listen to everything the have to say. Even if you don't plan on heeding most of it, still listen attentively. Most of the time, they will have an idea of someone they know who may be able to give you a heads up on job openings at their company or in your industry.
What are some of the best ways you have found to ask your contacts for help in your sales job search? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.