As networking remains the most effective way to find a job, let's review the questions to ask your contacts along the way.
Once you identify employers that hire your skills, you need to select the top five employers that you want to target in your job search. These top five may change over time as you learn more about each employer.
The first question to ask everyone you know is, "Do you know someone who works for any of the employers on my list?" The second question is, "Do you know anyone that might know someone who works for any of these employers?"
These two questions will create your first two generations of contacts. If you do not find anyone within these two generations of contacts, you may need to use a social networking website to find names of employees.
Once you have names of employees, your next goal is to find a legitimate way to meet with each one of them.
Before we go any further, it is clear that you should learn all you can about potential employers, and you can always use some additional career advice from someone already working in the industry. It is important to remember these two things as you go forward.
If the employee is a hiring manager -- someone who makes hiring decisions for the employer -- you can ask to meet with them, either to get career advice or to learn more about their company and/or their industry. This must always be a legitimate request even if you have worked in that industry before.
If the employee is not a hiring manager, you will want to ask such questions as, "Do you know who does the hiring for (name your job title) in your company?" or "I am looking for someone in your company who works as a (name your job title). Who would you recommend I speak with?"
Some may view this process as mere tactics or devices to sneak your way into an employer. You need to ensure they do not become such. If you legitimately want to learn more about a company or industry, or you legitimately want to get career advice, the people you meet with will recognize your sincerity and that will go in your favor.
Most employers you meet with will not necessarily have a job opening at that time, but they may in the near future. You will want to maintain contact with each of them until you have a job offer and accept it. This follow-up work in essential to your job search.
It is wise to end each meeting or interview with questions, such as "May I stay in contact with you in the future?" and "What is the best way to contact you?" You may also ask, "Would contacting you about once a month be OK? I would like to stay in touch."
With enough employers that you contact and follow up with, you will eventually get job offers. It may surprise you how many employers hire people they already know and like.
Again, you should learn all you can about potential employers that hire your skills and it is always helpful to get career advice as you are seeking a job. Asking these questions during your networking processes will yield good results.
Ron Campbell has worked extensively in the job preparation and job search industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-386-1111.