Top Tips:  Tip #1 – Don’t let your network forget!

As we enter into February, we are planning to share some of our Ministry Partner’s “Top Tips” for the unemployed or unfulfilled.  If you’re like many people who find themselves in one of those categories, you’ve probably learned there are a vast array of resources available to support you.  But, the unfortunate offset to “vast array of resources” is many times a frustrating, “Where do I even begin?!?”   

In the coming weeks, we’re going to try to sift through the many practical concepts, tools, and techniques we’ve assembled over the many years here at Crossroads Career and highlight them for you.  The risk, of course, any time someone sets out to deliver “the top” of anything, there are contrasting opinions and close calls.  

How to Have a Successful Job Transition

One of the filters we’ll be using for our highlighted selections, in addition to our own varied opinions, observations and experiences, is what we’ve seen many job seekers not do when they’re in transition.  We believe that if every job seeker would employ these top tips, they would have a much more successful job transition.

Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:4, “He (God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”  All of our tips come from people who have actually experienced the pain, fears, and frustrations that a job transition often brings.  Our motivation is to simply help others learn from our experiences.

We’re also told in 1 Corinthians 1:26, “Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eye or powerful or wealthy when God called you.”  Most of us would not consider ourselves “experts” in this field, but practitioners who have learned much through our vocations and our own career journeys.  After answering God’s call to Himself for redemption, we have then responded to God’s direction with our time, talent, and treasure to serve others as we saw Christ doing while He was here on earth.

Don’t Let Your Network Forget

So, with that backdrop and introduction, let’s jump into Top Tip #1:  Don’t Let Your Network Forget.

I have been working with Crossroads Career as a local ministry partner since 2005 and on the board since 2014. I’ve facilitated over sixty 8-week small groups and led multiple all-day workshops. Between Crossroads and my HR / Culture work, I’ve had the opportunity to coach and counsel thousands of people with career decisions.

I share that information only to highlight an anecdotal statistic for this top tip.  I try to recommend this tip to anyone I come into contact with in transition.  Yet of ALL the people in job transitions that I’ve supported and guided over the years, only about 1% of the 1% actually follow through and use this tip.

Despite many people’s extremely persistent efforts and hard work in networking with people, most of them rarely follow up on a regular basis with the people they’ve networked with to keep them in the loop on their search and to continue to prompt them for help and support.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that usually a networking contact occurs and a thank you is given, but after that, the person in a job transition assumes their job is done.  They think that the network contact will remember them and constantly have their eyes and ears open for new opportunities for the person in job transition.  And while that is a noble assumption, and the networked person will usually do their best, nothing could be further from reality.

Why?  Because after the networking contact occurs, the networked person goes back to work, back to their families… back to their usual life rhythms.  And they forget about the person in job transition.  Not on purpose, but life just happens.

Following up With Your Network

So what’s a person in a job transition supposed to do?

Follow up every 3-4 weeks with an email blast to a blind carbon copy list of people with whom they’ve networked (You could personalize it with individual emails, but that could suck up an inordinate amount of time).  Here are some content ideas for the email:

  • Tone is upbeat, grateful and optimistic
  • Reminder on why they’re getting the email – you networked with them in the past!  🙂
  • Short update on your activities
  • Short list of target organizations you’re considering
  • Quick ask to suggest how the reader may be helpful to you
  • Quick offer to support the reader in any way 
  • Current resume is attached

The entire email takes about 45 seconds to read and doesn’t feel desperate, but rather very professional and inclusive of the reader as the job seeker’s support team.  You’ll want them to feel engaged. The results of doing this are incredibly productive and encouraging!   Give it a try and let’s change the 1% of the 1% to a much higher percentage!

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People. 

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