It amuses me when I meet someone who is just starting a job search who says “I don’t know anyone.” This is usually after they hear “most job leads come through people in your network.”
I had the biggest excuse for not knowing anyone. I had moved to from my home of 9 years to a new place and spent all of my time either working or commuting! My work was with people outside of my state, and I never went to any “networking” or community events. Sound familiar?
But it hit me last week what “I don’t know anyone” really means. The next time someone says “I don’t know anyone,” what they really mean to say (or at least what I was saying) is “I don’t know anyone that will add value to my job search.” Or, to my career (because I’m all about career management ;))
Networking is a process, and we learn and grow as we do it. The lesson here is that you can’t judge the value someone will be in your network and immediately discount them (or include them!). There’s a guy here who needed to practice his 30 second pitch, called his grandma in Chicago to run it past her, and she gave him a lead that turned into a job!! Is your grandma on your network list? (I confess that my grandma isn’t on my list)
Take a lesson from your brainstorming days at work, where all ideas are accepted. That’s how you start your network. I recently wrote a post on CollegeRecruiter.com about who college students should include in their network – that might be a good post for you to read as you think about who to put on your network list.
One more thing – don’t get caught up in the design or software. Get a paper and pencil and begin listing all the names you can – or use this simple spreadsheet that you can then import into JibberJobber – but this needs to be a fast, free-flow process.
Go ahead, what are you waiting for?