In these days of modern technology, job search candidates are looking toward Twitter, My Space, Linkedin, and similar sites for job leads. Have they helped? Yes they have. Does that mean that traditional job search methods are no longer valid? No.

In fact, modern technology has dramatically enhanced the traditional job search method known as networking. When it comes to results, probably the leading job search method continues to be networking. But what is networking? Do you have a network? How do you tap into your network?

Networking means to directly communicate with people. Whether it is to renew a friendship with someone, take someone out to lunch, or communicate via the Internet, networking is the most viable and most effective job search method.

Why? Because decision makers hire people they enjoy being around.

And if you were a decision maker you would do the same thing: It is a natural human need to interface with people we like, we enjoy being around, people we can easily communicate with, folks with whom we can develop a relationship.

But you say, “I don’t have a network!” Unless you are a hermit and have been living alone in a cave since you were born, you have a network.

As proof that you do indeed have a network, grab a pen and pad and answer some of the following questions. Write down as many names as you can think of. Do not consider at this point whether you will contact them or not: The purpose here is simply to compile a list of potential networking contacts.

At your present or most recent employer, who was your immediate supervisor? Did you have any other supervisors? Who reported to you? Or, if you were on a team or in a project, or in a department, who else was there?

Who were your colleagues or co-workers? Peers? Friends at that company? Spouses of co-workers. Did you have any special assignments, or were you on any company teams (quality teams, sports teams) on which you interfaced with others. Did you ever attend any meetings? Were you on any committees? Who else attended those meetings or were on those committees?

At that same company, who were your customers or clients? Suppliers? Competitors. Vendors or sub-contractors?

Who was on the sales staff? Operations staff? Human Resources staff?

Who was the company president, or chief executive officer? Who was in charge? Who was the chairman of the board? Who were the board members? Who were the other officers of that company? Department Heads? Who did you hire, train or mentor at that company?

Now go through that round of questions for each of your employers.

Answer as many of the following questions as possible: Do you know any bankers? Anyone at a credit union or finance company? Do you know any financial planners? Accountants? Bookkeepers? Who does your taxes? Do you know any accountants? Auditors? Who is your Bookie? (Joke).

Do you know any lawyers or attorneys? Judges? Other professionals? Who do you know that owns a business? Who do you know that owns real estate? Who do you know that owns a boat, RV, yacht, classic car, or has a hobby or special interest similar to yours?

If you belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, who are the other members of the congregation?

Past or Present business associates – does anyone else come to mind? Do you know any politicians, city or community leaders, someone on the city council, or someone that belongs to the chamber of commerce?

Who was your favorite teacher, instructor, trainer, or professor? What other educators do you know? Who do you know that is on a school board? Does volunteer work?

Write down the name of any college or trade school you have attended, then write “Alumni List.” Anyone who at any time has attended that school realistically could be part of your network.

Who were your roommates? Who lived in the same dormitory? Did you belong to any clubs, organizations, or sports while you were in school? Who were the other members?

Who is the best sales person that you know? What other sales people do you know? If you were in the military or Reserves, whom do you know in conjunction with that?

Who is your medical doctor, other doctors, specialists, dentist, optometrist, pediatrician, medical technician, nurse, chiropractor? If you belong to a Health, Gym or Exercise Club, who else have you met there? Are you active in any sports? Do you coach? Do you belong to any Clubs? Tennis? Country? Golf? Surf? Bike? Yacht? What are your hobbies? Crafts? What do you collect? What are your special interests, and whom do you know in relation to those?

Who is your insurance broker? Do you know any real estate brokers or sales people? Stock brokers? Escrow officers? Probation Officers? (Joke) Speakers?

Who is your best friend? Other than you, who is your best friend’s best friend? Without getting into trouble, who is your spouse’s or significant other’s best friend?

Write down the names of adult relatives who work: parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters. Who are your neighbors? Who is your barber or hairdresser? Auto mechanic?

Can you think of anyone else?

If you faithfully answered the above questions, you should have a list of names that are part of your network. Now you should develop a verbal résumé, and systematically meet with each of these folks. Let them know that you are looking for a job, and ask for any assistance or referrals they could provide for you.

by Richard M. Knappen
San Diego Reader

Richard M. Knappen is the president of Chessmen Career Movers, an outplacement, career management, and consulting firm that is one of the oldest and largest locally-owned companies of its type in Southern California

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