Why You Should Be Networking with Strangers

Sometimes, it is more effective to network with people that you do NOT know, in order to get results. Sounds confusing because we think of networking as approaching people that we already know. And, if you have read my blog, you already know that I constantly encourage job seekers to grow their network and focus on the relationships. However, this story is about another level of networking and relationships. Read on to see what I mean.

Jessica (fictitious name but true story) was getting depressed about her job search. As a high level Marketing Manager, she had created award-winning marketing communications that elevated the visibility of her company. Not only did she manage project teams in executing creative solutions, but she also enjoyed hands-on graphic design work and had growing experience in social media messaging. When she found herself out of work, everything changed.

After looking for many months, she updated her résumé and adjusted her search with a willingness to take on junior level positions if needed.  But she was not getting results either. We spent time creating different versions of her résumé to more effectively target various positions. After quite some time, things were remaining quiet on the job front and Jessica was understandably worried. So, we brainstormed on how to deal with this.

In addition to working on relationships, Jessica pursued a powerful strategy of targeting specific key people (via LinkedIn, professional associations, and suggestions from friends) in organizations she wanted to work for and engaged them in assisting her with information. She would ask anything from info about what is happening in the department right now or soliciting their input about a current opening and what type of candidate they were seeking. 

It took a while, but finally her phone started ringing off the hook. Jessica told me she eventually received many calls, interviews, and a couple offers…all from people developed in her network. One company – the lucky winner who hired Jessica – reached out to her already knowing she had a job offer and offered her more money.

Job searching is exhausting and sometimes gets depressing. If you are feeling discouraged or as if you have tried everything, I hope Jessica’s story will inspire you to keep persisting. Follow her example and begin networking in a targeted way and you will also start to make things happen.

So think about it — who do you NOT know that you could be engaging?  

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