First, here’s the question Ken asked me:
You’ve just moved to a new state, after 61 years in another state, you have to develop friends first, learn how things work and where things are before you can identify hiring managers. The point is that all of your examples are generalized as an ideal paradigm. How about some real-world examples? Thank you!
(Note: Ken didn’t reveal his profession, so, for the sake of this example, we’ll assume he’s an engineer. If you aren’t an engineer, like “Ken,” no problem. Because the strategies that follow work perfectly for just about any profession.)
Well, there are two approaches you can take. Both are effective – whether you’re starting from scratch or want to grow your existing network – in ways that lead to you getting hired.
Today, let’s focus on the first approach, and we’ll tackle the second one tomorrow.
Here’s the first strategy:
Look for, and connect with, people like you – professional peers, fellow engineers, and folks in your specific industry.
Why is this a good strategy?
Because most of those folks already work with high-quality teams. And, at some point, almost every engineering team needs more engineers. When that happens, the boss will almost always ask trusted coworkers and associates for referrals first.
That’s because receiving a referral from someone you know, like, and trust is the fastest and easiest way to find high-quality hires for a team – rather than advertising publicly.
Also, these professional peers might hear about opportunities outside their own company through the grapevine (and know people you should talk to).
This is one of the best sources of referrals. Because if these peers know, like, and trust you – and they know that you just moved to their area and are looking for a role – they could send opportunities your way and put in a good word for you.
So, how do you get connected if you’re starting from scratch?
One of the best things you can do is join a local branch of a professional society, like, say, the National Society of Professional Engineers.
After you’ve joined, there are two things you should do:
First – Register for, and attend, events they have coming up, so you can meet new people and network.
Second – Email the officers of the local chapter, let them know you’re new in town, and ask them if they’d be open to meeting with you over a coffee or beer so you can get orientated with the area, talk shop, and network in a relaxed way.
In my experience, officers of these kinds of associations are only too happy to help in this way and will often make useful introductions.
So there you have it – the first of two simple strategies for building a professional network from scratch and finding the kind of high-quality positions that often aren’t even advertised.
Before we wrap up, I have a final thought for you:
In today’s age, whenever you meet people, one of the first things they do is look you up on Google. This almost always brings up your LinkedIn page first. Often times, they’ll just search for you on LinkedIn first.
It pays to have a decent LinkedIn profile that clearly articulates that you’re a competent, experienced, and respected professional that anybody would want to have in their network.