Saturday, December 19, 2009

Raise Your Hand If You Love Networking

This came through my mailbox earlier today from Kevin Donlan and I felt it was worth passing along.

Hey, job seekers: Raise your hand if you love networking.

I thought so.

And why don't you get a thrill out of talking to friends and family about
your job search?

For many folks, it's a problem of how to start. There's really no way to
ask, "Know anyone who's hiring?" without feeling awkward.

To fix that, here are two ways to open your next networking conversation
that are proven to produce job leads -- and won't make you feel self-conscious

1) Use Me as an Excuse to Call
Over the past year, I've quietly been perfecting a short networking script
at my Guerrilla Job Search seminars.

In every case, at least one person in the room gets a job lead -- in less
than 5 minutes.

Here's the four-part script that people are using to start networking
conversations by phone, with explanatory notes in parentheses:

1. "Hi, this is YOUR NAME! I'm at a training session and they told me to
call the most-connected person I know. That's you!"

(This gets you over the hump right away, by giving you an excuse to call.
Here, that excuse is me -- just say that somebody else told you to call.)

2. "I'm looking for a position as a JOB TITLE at a company like COMPANY #1,

(You have to think first, about what JOB you want and 3 COMPANIES you most
want to work for.)

3. "Who would you call if you were in my shoes?"

(You're asking someone to take ownership of your problem, by putting their
ego aside and thinking as if they were you. Simple psychology that's very

4. "Could I have their name and number?"

(Write it down. Hang up. Call that new person and drop the name of the
person you called first.)

For best results, use this script to call the most-connected person you
know -- the one person who seems to know almost everybody.

Here are three examples of how this has worked in my seminars:

1. Ellen in Minneapolis, MN, got a networking lead at the chamber of
commerce after calling a friend.

2. Greg in Fargo, ND, got a lead on a pharmaceutical sales job by calling a

3. Pete in Chanhassen, MN, got the name of an HR rep by calling a colleague
he had fallen out of touch with.

2) Use an Object as a Conversation Starter
Chris Russell, founder of, warns that a false sense of pride
can hurt your job search, recalling a friend who struggled mightily to get
hired. "He would never tell people that he was out of work, even his former
co-workers. I guess he was embarrassed."

Russell points out that, when it comes to your job search, you should look
for any excuse to start a conversation.

One such excuse may be the "Laid Off, Need a Job" wristband.

Described as an "attention getting conversation starter" by its makers, the
wristband retails for $3 and comes in bright yellow, with the message, "I
Need A Job."

The idea is, you put wear the wristband each day, people see it, ask about
your job search, and -- shazam! Instant networking conversation. More
information is at

Two other tactics I've seen are renting a billboard (pricey) and wearing a
T-shirt with your resume on it (no verifiable successes).

Now. How else could you get attention and start networking conversations?

Here's an idea: Stick a magnetic sign on the side of your car.

For less than $95, Kinko's can create one for you. Your sign's message
could be on two lines, like this:

Need Accounting Help?

Nobody wants to hire, but almost every business needs help, so don't use
"Hire me!" or "U-M Grad Will Work Cheap" as your headline.

The format I would follow is: "Need YOUR SKILL Help? CONTACT INFO."

Test several ideas on cardboard mockup signs and drive them past people, to
see if they can read your contact info at 25 or 40 miles an hour.

(Note: I practice what I preach -- look for my black SUV around the Twin
Cities with a magnetic sign on the side that says, "Got Work? My New Job
Hunt .com")

Do these conversation-starting ideas make you feel uncomfortable? Good!

Because, if you've been comfortable thus far in your job search, and you're
still unemployed, it may be time to leave your comfort zone and try
something new.

Kevin Donlin is co-author of Guerrilla Resumes. Since 1996, he has provided
job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Kevin has been interviewed by
The New York Times, Fox News, ABC TV, CBS Radio and others. To learn more
about how to create a Guerrilla Resume, visit
Cover Letter Examples
151-32500 South Fraser Way, Suite #290, Abbotsford, BC V2T 4W1, CANADA

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