Is Your Network a NOTwork?

Are you struggling to engage your network effectively in your job search efforts?

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for 35 years.

The fact remains that 80-90% of all jobs are found using networking, so it is a very important activity to do and often.

Your network connections should be more than just a list of names in your proverbial “rolodex”. Effective networking will help you develop meaningful connections, share useful information and overall assist you in finding your ideal job.

If you have hit a roadblock in your networking efforts, here are some common pitfalls to avoid and help you get back on track.

  • Be Transparent. There should be no ambiguity about what you’re doing.  Job-search networking is about being honest about your situation – yes you are looking for a job, but not using it as a pretext for a meeting and then ambushing the other person by asking them for a job. This is called “pitch and switch” and most job seekers are horrified at the thought of having to do it; and a lot of people who’ve experienced this behavior from job seekers are skeptical and resistant to meet job seekers, which quite frankly can you blame them?
  • Avoid Cold Calls. Job search networking is not about making cold calls to strangers. Rather it is talking with people who have expressed an interest in helping you with your search.
  • It’s NOT about asking for a job. It is NOT begging. You should not try to apply high-pressure sales techniques on your network. In fact if you are not being yourself, and doing it your way, then it’ll feel wrong and you won’t come across as genuine; another red-flag in the other persons mind. Leverage the conversations to share information that will help you find an assess opportunities.
  • Not everyone you meet will become a friend or future contact. Networking is communicating and building relationships, in fact a better name for it would be, “talking with other people.” If you’re thinking “but this is what I do every day anyway”, then you’re correct! The only difference is your conversations will include gathering and passing on information about companies, industries, names and jobs, as well as the other things you talk about. Despite your efforts, not everyone will be able to or even willing to help you in your job search efforts and that is ok.
  • Expand your networking list. Your network is not just the people you have worked with in your career. Start by making a list of people you know. Your initial list should contain a minimum of 50 names. Don’t limit yourself to only those contacts in your field of expertise. The hottest leads can come from people outside your area of expertise. Also, don’t avoid calling someone because it has been a long time since you talked with that person. If that person were contacting you, wouldn’t you respond? Don’t limit yourself by geography. While you may not want to relocate, you may have, or will develop, network contacts in other areas of the country that can help you locally. They may also identify a once in a lifetime opportunity, which might change your thinking about relocation.
  • Be prepared. You often have just 15 minutes with a connection and you want to make the most of that time. Understanding the other party is a key component to your preparation. If this is a networking meeting where your goal is to learn some specific information, then your message will be different than if this is a casual acquaintance met at a store or in a restaurant. By the same token if we are talking with a potential employer our response will be different again. Knowing your audience is the key to the message.
  • Keep a good record of your discussions. Conducting an effective job search networking campaign means you’re going to meet a lot of people, arrange a lot of meetings, swap emails and phone calls, take lots of notes, pick up to-do tasks, and add companies, job titles and people to what you already have. You’re going to need something to store this information and activity, keep it, and you, all organized and be accessible wherever you are.

Keep in mind, the goal of job search networking is to find that person (the decision maker) who can give you your next exciting position (the hidden job), and everything you do (gather and share information) needs to be focused on expanding your network (get referrals to others) until you find The Right One (person, industry, company and job).  Remember we are not asking for help we are asking for and sharing information.

The truth is, a network contact can be anyone! Networking is nothing more than making contact – either face-to-face or by mail, e-mail or over the telephone – with anyone who can give you information.  The operative word is information that leads you to job opportunities and decision makers. It is not about handing an acquaintance a copy of your resume and asking for either a job or a call if s/he hears of anything.

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for 35 years. Our strong reputation for consistently delivering exceptional service at value sets us apart. If you would like more information on our services please check out our website at or you can contact us directly at 888-424-0003 or email us at