My Plan: job search & network


People like to hire people they know. Research has shown that a job candidate referred by a current employee or contact of a hiring manager is likely to be a strong candidate that fits with the team culture. Plus, internal referrals tend to stay at a position longer so it is a better investment for the company.

Who do you know? Do they know that you are looking for a new position?

Your single best resource in your job search is the people you know. It is time to start engaging with your contacts so that they can assist you in your job-search efforts. The key to remember is that networking is not asking people to get you a job; rather it is a process of asking for assistance with gathering “AIR”:

  • Advice: “Can you tell me the best way to apply for a position at your company?”
  • Information: “From your perspective, what are the the skills most in demand for someone in your field?”
  • Referrals: “Do you know someone working in the field of (insert industry) with whom I might be able to connect with for more information?”

By asking your network these types of questions you are able to interact with them, learn from them, and let them know that you are currently looking for new opportunities without asking for them a job.

Networking: Five-Step Process

  1. Make a list of the people you know; your family, friends, coworkers, clients, and managers (review your social media accounts, email address book, and personal address book).
  2. Come up with a short statement about yourself.
  3. Think of a question you want to ask your contact (AIR).
  4. Make contact. You can call, email, or post an update on LinkedIn.
  5. Be amazed by the number of people who respond and are willing to assist you in moving forward.

Download a packet of networking tools to help you navigate the networking process.

The key to remember is that most often your direct network will not have a job to offer you, since they are not likely the hiring manager. Your contacts are the bridge to the person who will most likely hire you. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start networking!

Are you interested in taking your networking to the next level?

Business cards provide a useful tool when you are networking. They provide a convenient way to provide your contact information and market your skills.

What to include on business card

  • Name
  • Title
  • City / State
  • Phone #s and Email Address
  • LinkedIn URL
  • Marketing line

Where to print

Professional Associations can provide you with a wealth of information and resources that can be beneficial in your job search and overall career development.

Benefits of joining

  • Networking: In person meeting opportunities, access to member only linkedIn groups, access to member directories.
  • Mentoring: Meet and learn from successful professionals, identify contacts that can assist you to grow in your field.
  • Professional Development: Identify hidden jobs, learn industry specific tips for customizing your resume and delivering interview responses.
  • Education: Attend industry specific panel discussions, learn about new trends, obtain access to articles and attend conferences.
  • Career Navigation: Demonstrate an interest in your field, keep your eye on the market, hear what others are seeing in the field.


How to find an association

Do you want to …

… build your résumé?

… expand your network?

… give back to the community?

Volunteering is a great way to:

  • build your resume.
  • meet new people and expand your network.
  • explore your talents and passion.

Here are some tips to help you prepare so that you can make the best first impression.

  • Review each organization’s website to familiarize yourself with their vision and mission and view the posted volunteer opportunities.
  • Understand why you want to volunteer and what skills you have to offer.
  • Qualify yourself – formulate a verbal summary statement that highlights your strengths as they pertain to the volunteer opportunity.
  • Think about your availability and the amount of time you can commit to a volunteer opportunity.
  • When you talk to the organization, avoid being overly desperate or pushy. You are being evaluated just as you would for a job interview.

National databases of volunteer opportunities

Informational meetings are a method of gathering advice, information and referrals. You meet with a new or current contact for a brief period of time, usually about 15 to 20 minutes, and ask them questions about their profession, company and industry. You ask the questions with the intent to learn. It is not a job interview.

Who do I want to talk to?

  • People knowledgeable about your field/job/industry
  • People doing the job
  • People who manage the job
  • Recruiters / HR professionals that hire for the job

How do I make contact?

  • Former colleagues
  • Meetups/Association meetings
  • Friends of friends
  • LinkedIn

Here is a sample script for asking for an informational meeting (additional scripts below):

  • Contact: Hello, Philip Lopez speaking.
  • Job Seeker: Hi Philip this is Will Doyle. Michelle Michaels, a mutual friend suggested I contact you since I am currently researching a career switch to the high tech industry. Do you have a minute?
  • Contact: Sure, how can I help you?
  • Job Seeker: Let me explain why I am calling. My background is in marketing at a local electronics company. I am gathering information to assist me in determining the next direction for my career and talking to leaders in the field. Do you think you could help me with some advice?
  • Contact: I am very busy with work and all, what do you need?
  • Job Seeker: I understand that time is tight. I have a few questions about marketing career trends and the nature of the current job market. Could we meet for 15 – 20 minutes sometime during the next two weeks to discuss your thoughts?

Informational Meeting Tools

Do you consider yourself an introvert? Does the idea of networking cause you stress? If so, check out our Networking Tips For Introverts!

MyPlan is the product of NOVAWorks and is accessed through their Creative Common Licenses. We thank NOVAWorks for providing access to MyPlan and resources to assist our customers.

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