Job search coaches tell job seekers that they should start out with a list of 150 contacts and build from there. Oh, the groans we hear. “Why so many?” “I don’t know that many people.” “What, are you nutz!” These are some frequent comments; so, let’s look at these objections.
Why so many? Simply that’s about how many it takes. Orville Pierson cites in his book, The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search, it takes talking to 15 decision makers to land the job. Plus, it takes talking to 10 folks to reach a decision maker. 15 X 10 = 150.
I don’t know that many people. Well that’s easy; list all the people you do know. If you have a list of 90 names, that’s a good start. If you have a list of 35 names that okay too, you’ll build from there. Even if all you have is a list of ten, ten is better than zero. What’s important is that you have a list of people to call.
What, are you nutz! Well that remains to be seen. Most job seekers only feel that way in the beginning; after they’ve landed a job, they think that I’m a genius! (Yes, I know what you're thinking; but it’s my story and I’m sticking with it.)
Okay, let’s say that you’ve got your list of 150 names and you’re an excellent and motivated job seeker. Let’s also say that you listen to all your coach’s directions and you’ve made ten phone calls a day and 15 business days later you’re out of names. (It could happen!) What do you do now?
Again, that’s easy... get more names. One way to get more names is to go back and touch base again with the best folks on your list. What do I mean “best folks?” These are the people who have given you names already. You’ve spoken to their previous leads and given them feedback and shared your appreciation. So, they are going to be happy to share other contacts with you.
If you’re not sure what to say, ask them if they have any contacts or connection at a new target company you’re interested in. Then let the conversation go from there. People like to know how you’ve progressed. They’ll want to help some more if you’ve already utilized their first offering.
Getting a job requires talking to people, and doing it more than once. Sometimes our first conversation isn’t at a time or place where people can help us. That doesn’t mean that they cannot help us later. Be open to repeat visits. Be prepared with something new with which to engage them. Always remember networking is about relationships. Relationships take time and repeated contacts or touches. And if you’re not having fun, do it differently, but don’t stop doing it!