Guest Post from Gabrielle, Blogger for The Art of Applying
If you haven’t already read Parts One and Two of this series on signs it’s time to look for a new job and how to tap your network to help in the process, you may want to check them out before reading this third, and final, post in the series!
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making when undertaking a networking campaign is not having a strategy for follow-up and follow through. And I get it! If you’re networking well and being introduced to a host of new people with each conversation, it can get overwhelming. Before long you’ve forgotten who you spoke to last week, let alone three months ago. (Here’s a tip: Create a tracker in Excel and enter conversations by date and topic so you can do a quick refresh on a weekly or monthly basis.)
That said, you and I both know that relationships aren’t built on a “one and done.” You wouldn’t propose to someone after a first date (let’s hope), so similarly, you probably won’t have created a ton of street cred with someone you’ve spoken to just once. Rather, it takes a subtle nurturing and feeding of a flame over time that builds a relationship you both can rely on. And this goes for both conversations with new connections and chats to maintain current ones!
When I started my job search at the beginning of this year, I tapped a group of roughly 65 current and former colleagues seeking help in figuring out my next step. As I detailed in my last post, a host of them came through: one simple email not only sparked “catch-up” calls with a bunch of people I hadn’t spoken to in a while, but also put me on a path to meet a bunch of new folks.
In my case I got lucky — less than two months into the new year I landed the full-time job offer I was coveting from a company I’d been contracting with for going on a year (note: the average job search takes about six months). Since I got this job from a different kind of networking (within my current organization and utilizing clear intention setting, and lots of patience and persistence), there wasn’t anyone in particular that I was obliged to “thank” for the foot in the door.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t have some thanking to do. You see, my network still came through when I asked them for help. They didn’t have to, and if I wanted to set the stage for them to feel confident and willing to do it again in the future, I needed to make sure my appreciation was clear.
So I sent the following:
Subject Line: Job Announcement! (And a thank you!)
A couple of months ago, I reached out to you for help as I was pursuing new job opportunities and trying to determine the next step in my ever-evolving career. Many of you responded with leads for me to get in touch with, words of encouragement to keep my spirits up and thoughts about which path(s) might best suit me. I am so thankful to everyone for their support!
Just two months after that original email, I am happy to come back to you to report that the stars aligned, and I have just accepted a full-time offer with Fintech Startup, one of the companies I’ve been contracting with since June of last year. It’s a blessing in so many ways, not only since it allows me to stay in Philadelphia and work from home, but it also keeps me on the path I set for myself back in the fall of 2015.
My role with Company will be a Career Advisor on the Career Strategy team, but in addition to working with clients 1:1, I’ll also be helping to build out a scalable Career Education program, will be traveling the country to speak at live events and will have the opportunity to play a role in a variety of mobile and digital initiatives. It’s the kind of job I’ve been looking for — something that will allow me to tap into my marketing, general management, operations and program development skills, while also helping people every day and working in an environment that allows me to feel energized, rather than depleted.
I’ll start officially at the end of this month and will be off-loading some of my other commitments over the next few weeks, although I will maintain my private coaching business and University adjunct position for the foreseeable future.
Once again, I’m really excited to share this news with you, and just feel so grateful to be surrounded by a wonderful network of professionals and friends!
Have a great Wednesday!
It was short, sweet and to the point, but it closed the loop with my contacts and interestingly, sparked conversations from people that never responded to my initial email! More than that, it let people know more about the work I’d be doing and the skills I’d be using so that, if they should need assistance in the future, I can be of help to them. In fact, if I could send this email again, that might be the one change I’d make — adding a line to make more clear the fact that I’m ready and willing to return the favor if needed.
I hope that you can walk away from this series feeling like you’ve gained a new tool for your networking tool belt. Sometimes it’s the simplest steps that take us the farthest. Good luck, and let me know your questions in the comments!