Just how do you network when you don’t know anyone?
Q: I am not opposed to networking during my job search; however, my previous job was more focused on production work and had limited interactions with people outside my department. I feel as though asking friends for help is an imposition. How are you supposed to network when you don’t even know anyone?
A: Networking lends itself to all kinds of emotions, especially during a job search. The self-imposed pressure that job candidates create is often unrealistic and makes networking more difficult than needed.
The truth about networking is that anyone at any time can start right where they are in life. Bob Beaudine, author of says you likely already know The Power of Who, the person who will give you a lead to your next job. While you may feel as though you are imposing on your friends, the truth is reaching out to those you know is a compliment. Brainstorming with your friends says that you trust their judgment and value their thoughts. Keep in mind that anxiety is often the culprit when stepping out of your comfort zone.
The best way to start networking is by developing a key list of those you have connections with through various avenues. Friends and family are on the list, but there are multiple connections that can be overlooked. Here are some suggestions that have been helpful to others:
Look at the last five-10 years and identify your top customer and client interactions. Customers can be strong avenues for networking because you have shared commonalities.
Vendors and suppliers are good sources for expanding your connections. A good sales representative is in tune with the industry needs and can easily help you identify companies that are growing. Most vendors will have a good reason to help you network, with hopes of a continued business relationship in the future.
Alumni associations encourage active career networks and most offer an alumni directory.
School events where parents and teachers participate.
Colleagues from the past and present. Lastly, don’t “overthink” networking and allow thoughts of imposition to keep you from reaching out to people. If a friend was in a job search and asked you for help, would you feel as though they were imposing? Probably not.
The best way to start networking is by developing a key list of those you have connections with through various avenues.