Build a job search network before you need one


Diane just accepted a new job as a Regional Vice President after a 5-month job search. She was unexpectedly laid off after 15 years at her current company.

She starts her new job in 3 weeks. However before she starts she will keep her plans to complete 4 previously-scheduled networking and interview lunches and meetings.

Why bother when she already has a job offer she has accepted?

Diane learned the New Rule of Careers: Build a robust job search network before you need one. She got caught once unprepared, and she swears it won’t happen again! The new network she so laboriously built is going to stay intact and grow. While she is excited about her impending job, she is already thinking about what her next job might look like, and realizes by keeping the network intact, new opportunities can arise at any moment.

When Diane found herself out of a job, she realized that her networking and job search skills were rusty. Worse than rusty actually: she didn’t have a clue where to start or what to do. Sure she knew people, mostly professionals with direct ties to her company and her job.

1) Get live. Networking does not = computers. Networking = people. It means to communicate and have real, authentic relationships.

2) Look for opportunities to help others on a regular basis–volunteering, commending others on a job well-done, or a well-written article, or an event that ran well. Send a note, pick up the phone, make it personal and warm.

3) Consciously gather names, stories, and contact information. Start a file on people with more than contacts: remember things like birthdays, milestones, areas of interest and backgrounds.  For example, if someone’s alma mater wins a national championship, congratulate them!

4) Build credentials and  visibility within your field of expertise. This means joining and participating actively in your professional–through professional associations, trade shows, and continuing education. Not just paying annual dues to say that you are a member, but actively contributing. Build a reputation and get to know people through volunteering and working on projects and publications.

Building a professional network before you need one is a huge way to reduce the stress of a job search!


  1. Stopping over from the UBC . . .

    YES! Be proactive and get live! This holds true to so many areas of our lives! As I’m working on the UBC, I realize that I can get stuck behind the computer and need to make an effort to connect with people live. Twitter conversations are great – but they don’t beat face-to-face conversations. Having a great idea of 1) where you are and 2) where you want to be is essential to continue growing in both your career and your life!

    Outside of industry related networking groups – any suggestions for other face-to-face networking opportunities?

    Thanks for the great post!


    • Job Search Trainer says:

      Thanks Lisa–glad you liked the post.

      My favorite networking suggestion is a “two-fer”: volunteering doing something you love. You can be very strategic about it and use professional skills, or target a cause, or a neighborhood. This is the “broadest” net you can cast to meet diverse people. You already have something in common, and have opportunites to build professional interests together.


  2. Great suggestions here! Getting out there and meeting people live is the best way to network and job search!
    So true we should always have a job search network in place.


  1. computer strategy…

    Build a job search network before you need one…