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Create a Personal Networking Plan

Create a Personal Networking Plan

Wendy S. Enelow / Monster Contributing Writer

Creating a structured plan and process is vital to any successful venture, whether launching a new business, orchestrating an organizational turnaround or managing your job search networking campaign. It is critical that you clearly identify your network contacts, develop a personalized networking plan and build an administrative process to manage it all.

Before starting to create a two-tiered networking system, remember the most important concept underlying the networking process: Ask your network contacts for their help, not for a job. People are delighted to help, but few will have jobs to offer you.

Tier-One Contacts

These are the hottest prospects and people you know best — other executives and senior managers, current and past colleagues and managers, vendors, consultants, recruiters with whom you have an established relationship, bankers and venture capitalists.

How Healthy Are Your Networking Skills?

1. How important are first impressions?

They can make or break an interview
I can always make myself look better if I screw up at first
I don’t worry about that. I look better on paper anyway

Process: Your initial contact will likely be via phone — a quick call announcing you’re in the job market and would appreciate advice, assistance, recommendations or referrals.

Follow-Up One: At the end of each conversation, tell your contacts you’d like to send them a resume to have on file and ask if they prefer mail, fax or email. Immediately forward your resume with a brief, friendly cover letter, thanking them for any help they can offer and mentioning the positions and industries in which you are interested.

Follow-Up Two: If you have not heard back from contacts within three weeks, call and inquire if they’ve reviewed your resume and if they have any recommendations.

Tier-Two Contacts

These are people you know casually. This list will largely fall into the same categories as the tier-one contacts, but you do not know these individuals as well. They may include commercial Realtors and developers, local newspaper publishers, attorneys, accountants, investors, Chamber of Commerce directors, state licensing personnel and others who know what’s happening within a particular business community or have clients who may be interested in your talent.


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