Crash! Pick up Those Network Pieces

Crash! Pick up Those Network Pieces


When your industry is dealt a heavy blow like the recent Wall Street woes, networking takes a little creativity. Here’s a short list of tips from job seekers and recruiters.

Use your resources creatively

Services like Ladders are not only good to find job openings, they also provide tremendous insight into what potential employers are thinking and what kinds of skills they need, according to “Esther,” a member of Ladders who is using the service in conjunction with her networking skills to find a new job as a lawyer in financial services.

I try to read between the lines and see what they’re really looking for, beyond the bullet lists of requirements, and analyze what that implies for the firm,” Esther said. “My approach is to create my own job by understanding what they really need, then showing them how I can add value.”

Use teamwork and generosity

Create a group of peers – people you might even compete with for similar jobs – and make a pact to help each other out, advised Jim Villwock, president of expense-management service IEM Group Inc. and author of the upcoming Whacked Again! Secrets to Getting Back on the Executive Saddle. If you spot a job you like, tell the others, and get them to do the same. Who gets the job depends on chemistry and specific background, but pooling your information can expand your search capability 500 percent.

Generosity toward others in your network is the key to making the network work. “People are happy to help each other, but they don’t like when you just call up looking for something, like it’s a one-way street, ” Villwock said. “They don’t like feeling taken advantage of.”

Use the soft approach in networking
Hiring managers already feel pressure from the financial situation of their companies, so don’t add to the pressure. “I call them up and ask them how they’re doing,” Esther said. “I ask if there’s anything I can do to help them, and sometimes they mention something, but mostly I think ahead of time what I can offer – services, references, whatever. If they’re going on a trip to India, give them pages of tips on where to eat, what to do. It takes a lot of research, but whatever I have, I give. So far this time around I’ve gotten three other people jobs. That extends my network even further, and those people will remember me.”