This is a companion article to a YouTube Livestream on Fri May 15, 2020 on using social networking in a job search. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/DgBer_nb2no
I recently found myself hunting for a job and realizing that… I had NO IDEA what I was doing. Despite decades of experience in my field, multiple degrees and certifications, and a healthy reputation I had no job offers, no interviews, and nobody was even looking at my LinkedIn profile.
But after I got over the frustration and depression, I turned that into a learning experience. I asked friends for advice, I took courses on job hunting, resume writing, and interviewing, and I took new action. I ended up turning things around and I learned a lot.
Here are the 3 things I wish I had done as soon as I started my job hunt:
- Announce publicly that I was unemployed and excited to look for work.
- Contact my friends, catch up, and ask for advice
- Reconnect with colleagues that I respect, let them know I am looking for work, and ask for the advice and support
You might be thinking, “Shouldn’t I update my resume? Shouldn’t I start applying for jobs?” Those are things you have to do, but it is much better to lay a solid foundation for your job hunt. Your network is much more important: it will sustain you over time, it will guide you, and it will open doors. If you reconnect with your friend and colleagues you will gain perspective, advice, and invaluable emotional support.
Announce Your Availability
You might be reluctant to use the word “unemployed.” Can you say it publicly? I couldn’t. I couldn’t bear the idea of announcing that I was “unemployed.” But all my good fortune started AFTER my friends and colleagues saw a simple post that mentioned that I was “unemployed.” Only after that did I realize that I had spent months job hunting and my network didn’t even know I was looking for new work.
Make a post on LinkedIn, and keep it positive but be direct. For example:
Hey friends, I am excited but anxious. I am now searching for new work! I look forward to the next opportunity but I’m anxious about the uncertainty.
I know the future holds great things.
Do you know anyone looking for <describe something you are good at… don’t be shy>? I’m up for it.
In the mean time, I have free time in between upskilling, and job hunting. I would love to reconnect with my old friends and colleagues. Don’t be shy to use the word “unemployed”: using that word helped me a lot. Just be yourself and announce where you are at and where you want to be!
Contact Your Friends
Reach out to 3 friends. Don’t wait. Email them, phone them, send them a message on LinkedIn: whatever is easiest for you.
Tell your friends that you are now looking for work. Reveal your vulnerability if you are feeling anxious. In the worst case your friends might have nothing to offer now but you have started a dialog that will help later. In the best case, they might have great advice or support to offer.
Ask them for advice. Literally say, “Hey, do you have any advice? Obviously, at a time like this I feel like I’m not the best person to judge my circumstances. Give me some perspective? What should I be doing?”
Also take the time reconnect with them. Realize that they have lives and you probably have value to offer them. We all get busy with work and our friends are sometimes at the periphery. This is a chance to reconnect and maybe be of help to them! You’ll feel great about yourself. Offer help where you can.
Solicit Colleagues you Respect
Don’t just reconnect with your friends. Pick 3 professional colleagues or co-workers you think highly of and contact them. Most of them will be on LinkedIn so send them a message.
Like your friends, it is worth re-connecting and seeing how they are, but you also could get some very good objective advice from them. In the best case, they might point you to a shortcut in your job hunt.
Say something like this:
Hey Bob, Long time no see! I just lost my job and find myself with time on my hands. How are you? I was just thinking about
. You were someone with a really good head on your shoulders.
Can I ask you for some advice? I would really like some objective feedback as I begin a new phase in my career and I would value your opinion in particular.
This approach is honest and direct. Have a video call (or when Covid restriction are relaxed maybe a coffee!) and chat about old times. Find out how they are doing, and what they are doing.
Ask them what they would do in your position. Ask them if they know any recruiters or companies that would fit you. Ask them what they did in similar circumstance.
That’s all it takes. Open the dialog and genuinely ask for advice.
Go From There
After you do those three things, then you can worry about updating your resume, find job postings, and practicing your interviewing.
After you have contacted old friends and colleagues, you can expand and talk to more. You will have the time. And every person you talk to will lead to new advice, information, and support.
Do it now. :-)
Learn how to Job Hunt
Don’t take my word for it. Learn what I did by taking the courses I took.
I summarized some of the courses I took on LinkedIn Learning/Lynda.com in a previous article. I give my highest recommendation to taking these courses (and others that you will discover) on LinkedIn Learning!
If you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact me directly or post comments on this article.