Given all of the factors that go into a job search—cover letters, resumes, interviews, networking…not to mention trying to have fun and connect with friends and family—it never hurts to have some support and advice on how to manage it all. Over on the New York Times, Eilene Zimmerman, who blogs at You’re the Boss and wrote for the New York Times Career Corner, answered questions asked by job seekers. Here’s one that stood out.
Q: We all know networking is important for job-hunting; we also know a majority of jobs are found through a network. But during the job search, how are we supposed to leverage our contacts? My approach is to be direct; I’ve asked every significant LinkedIn connection to look out for opportunities. Yet, many of these contacts are very very shallow business acquaintances are not invested in my success. Hence, the likelihood of their finding a job for me is slim. In short, I’m asking how do we leverage a network? Thanks! — Nahtanos, Brooklyn
A: The most effective way to network is to look for information — not a job and not a referral for a job. Sure, that’s ultimately the goal, but asking directly if your contacts know of any open positions isn’t as effective as just asking them for advice and guidance. Ask about where the need in the market is for your skills, if they would suggest you tweak your approach or search in some way that might yield more results. I would not suggest directly asking about open positions. If you’re meeting with them to talk about their work, the industry, the market and so forth, they know you’re looking.
People like to give advice and talk about what they are doing — so let them — you may learn something you hadn’t expected. And after a good conversation you will be top-of-mind when they hear about an opening.
Other job seekers asked questions about finding a job when you’re over 50, how to cope with a long-term search, and more. Read the rest of the Q & A here.
What advice has helped you navigate the job search? Share your own advice and experiences in the comments.