We have all heard that old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” and in many things in this life that saying does turn out to be true. When it comes to the job search, how many times have you gained an “in” with a company because you are good friends with someone who works there or know a family member of someone who works there?
Well, what do you do if you find yourself in a situation where you need to find a job but don’t know anyone? There are many reasons why this could happen. Whatever the reason, don’t believe your job search is hopeless. Here is where you can start:
Make a List of Connections
While you may think you have to build your network from scratch, I believe if you take a few minutes to really think about it, you probably know more people than you think. Sit down and make a list of people that you do know. While it is a good idea to try to focus on the field of interest you will be searching for employment in, don’t discount anyone. Start making a list of names that can include your family members, friends, people you have met in your new area, neighbors, almost anyone that comes to your mind. This will be the foundation of your new networking list that you will use to build upon.
Leverage the Power of Your Connections
You may not know people directly that can help you, but the power of secondary, tertiary and beyond (4th and 5th degree connections) are where you might find the golden contact to help you. By reaching out to the list you made of your initial connections, no matter how small that list may be, see who they know on LinkedIn and by asking verbally who they know who can help you achieve your next goal.
Leverage Social Media Power
Social media sites such as Facebook and, more importantly, LinkedIn, can help you build a network of people in your field that could be helpful tools when you are ready to search for a job. Join as many relevant groups on the social media sites as you can for your field and regularly check in with them. Post in the groups and contribute to what they are doing so people begin to recognize you as an expert and look to you for advice. Consider using the advanced search functions to help you find companies that are looking for people in your field as well. Once you find these, don’t just apply for the job, but also make an effort to network with people employed at the company.
Be Consistent and Participate
Probably the most difficult part of building your networking list, is the ability to stay consistent with it over a long period of time and making an effort to regularly participate in conversations and activities that occur within your network. It’s the consistency that enables online connections to become offline relationships. Building a networking list isn’t easy, but if you take the time to actively participate on a regular basis and continue to do so over a long period of time, you will begin to reap the rewards. Check in with your network using your online tools and participate in any ongoing conversations. Try checking in one or two times a day if there is a particular conversation that is very interesting taking place.
Just Start With One Action Per Day
While starting a job search without a network of friends and colleagues to help you along the way may seem daunting, it is certainly possible. All you have to do is start building your network today. Whatever you do, don’t delay. While you may find that perfect job without knowing anyone, it will definitely be easier if you do. So start building your network list today so when you are ready to make a change, you have an entire host of people that could help you in your search.
Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer