Finding a new job is a team sport. You will not secure an excellent position on your own. When faced with a job change, it can be easy to start with tasks and forget about people. It’s understandable: there’s a lot to do! While updating your résumé and crafting cover letters are essential, your job search should begin and end with people. We have four tips to help you find, leverage, and appreciate your cheerleaders.
Spread the word. Let your network know you are looking for a new position. Others can’t help you if they don’t know what you need. Seeing who reaches out to support is your first indication of who your team will be—there will likely be some surprises! It’s a mistake to think that the people who helped you find your current position will be the ones to help you find your next position. Each job hunt is unique.
Be specific. Many colleagues may be willing to help, but not know how. By being definite in your requests, you're making it easier for people to assist. It requires work to figure out what you mean by, “would you write a reference for me?”—and they may not deliver what you had in mind. However, if you ask, “Can you write a two paragraph recommendation on my LinkedIn page about our success on the enrollment initiative?” they can simply comply.
Express appreciation. When others give of their time and network to assist you, make sure they know how much it means to you. Consider the favor and the colleague to decide if a call, an email, a hand-written note, or a gift is most appropriate.
Pay it forward. Once you have found a new position, standby ready to help when others are on the market for a new role. The best way to show your gratitude to your network is by contributing to others when they need the same assistance. Offer something of value—whether it’s reviewing a résumé or making an introduction—whenever a colleague is seeking a position.