Thursday, December 15, 2011

Create Your Networking Contacts List

In Tuesday’s blog post, I discussed creating a comprehensive networking strategy in which I mentioned building a networking contact list. I challenge you to make a list of at least 50 networking contacts. When asked to create a list like this, most people automatically say “I don’t possibly know 50 people.” This stems from closing your mind to all the people you have contact with and assuming they can’t possibly help you. I implore you to open your mind.

You should make this list and maintain regular contact with the people on your list, whether you are actively job searching or happily employed. Should the unfortunate unemployment situation present itself to you, the better prepared you are, the faster you can start networking to achieve results. Here are some ideas to help you build your list.

Friends and Family
This is the obvious place to start. However, keep in mind that most people’s friends and family may not know exactly what you do and they certainly don’t know what makes you good at your job. Don’t be shy about telling them.

Past Co-workers and Supervisors
Chances are, these people are still in the same or a similar industry. These people know your skills, work ethic, and personality and may be a very effective place to start networking.

Vendors and Business Contacts
As above, these people see you at work at know your skills. They also probably work with similar companies and can be an excellent source of “insider information” on job openings.

Sports and Recreational Activities
If you are involved in any activities, your classmates or teammates know you well. However, they probably don’t know what you do for a living.

Whether it is your school or your children’s school, this is a great way to meet a variety of people across diverse career fields.

Doctor / Dentist
Imagine how many people your doctor and dentist come into contact with every week. They talk to their patients and get to know them and they are the perfect networking conduit for you.

People You Come into Contact with Every Day
Hairstylists, retail salespeople, mechanics, and bank tellers are among the people you interact with. Don’t be shy, tell them what you do for a living and make connections through their diverse network of customer contacts.

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