One worry I hear repeated from my clients (kind of a lot) is “You tell me to network into a new job, but I don't have a local network because I just moved here” or “It’s just not something I ever thought to worry about.”
I'm going to myth bust this idea of needing a “local network,” cool?
First off, needing to have a “local” network is a big fat myth. Due to the wonders of the internet, ALL networks are local networks!
Secondly, you actually DO have a local network you just may not realize it. You really do have what you need, you just gotta tap into it.
So no, you don't need to have a local network, it doesn’t matter where you are - you're connected! However you actually DO have that local network that’s just waiting to be tapped in to.
Tip 1: Start in your own backyard.
Reach out to your immediate network. Again they don't need to be local, just immediate. You should tap into your immediate network AND your immediate space. What are you doing on a daily basis? Who are you interacting with?
This can be your friends, your family, the head of the new kickball team you just signed up for, for kicks, your favorite bartender at the new bar on the corner by the new apartment you just moved into, even your weird, old, college roommate on Facebook - that's part of your local network. Ask them who they know.
If you’re in a new city or a new neighborhood and you pop in to the same coffee shop every day, they're going to know the regulars who come in, sitting on their laptops and work at the interesting startups - get to know them! They’ll be happy to make you a macchiato and chat people.
You might be surprised, but the most effective outcomes from networking connections are going to come from someone a bit removed from you - it's not going to be your hairstylist - it's going to be your hairstylist’s sister’s roommate who has a line on a job for you.
Tip 2: Next is what I call “Fellows in the Field”
What I mean by that, is other people who are currently doing the job you want now.
You want to be real, genuine, non-cheesy and non-creepy about it, but you want to connect with these people. It doesn't matter that you don't know them yet. Use your college groups, if you went to college: your Alumni Association, theater or debating groups etc. They are gold mines for these types of connections.
LinkedIn is your next port-of-call. Research the people that are doing the job you want and connect with them. There was a time you needed to have met someone in person to connect with them, but those days are long gone. It is totally acceptable to reach out to someone you're interested in that you haven't ever met. So go ahead!
Tip 3: Next, tap into past professional relationships.
Now maybe you have moved to a new city or maybe you've moved into a new field - unless you really are going for your first job, you have some past professional relationships and because you were a responsible, professional person who didn't burn bridges (or entire offices) to the ground, you have a ready-made group of people who know your professional experience.
Reach out to your past employers and clients and let them know you're looking to add to your network in your new area. Ask for advice, ask for recommendations, ask if they know anyone who could use your skills or who they think you should meet.
Tip 4: Next is influencers.
I’m not talking Instagram influencers with 228k followers (although if your sister happens to be one, WORK IT) - I'm talking influencers in your community and in your career field. That could mean anything from members of the local Chamber of Commerce, local business owners, the PTA president, the Pee-Wee soccer coach… these people know everyone.
Tip 5: Hit up the professionals who handle the hiring for the types of roles you’re looking for.
Actively reach out to recruiters and hiring managers. They genuinely want to know you're out there because their job is to hire talented and energetic people - so you want to get on their radar!
Make a list of 25 companies you'd be really, really excited to work at and contact the hiring managers and recruiters. Let them know you're here, you're available, you can show up to the office, you're available to work remotely... whatever. Let them know that you're not only interested in the role, but in the company as a whole. Definitely tailor it to them and don't wait for a job listing to be posted! Make their lives easier and save them some work by building a relationship before they need to fill a role. Then when the time comes, boom! there you are!
Tip 6: Next is not quite spamming, but almost.
This is when you want to get the word out to the networks that you are on your local networks of the internet: your social networks. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram... whatever it is that you're on, I don't care if you're a grown person on Snapchat, snap some people. I guarantee, someone who's following someone you know has a lead for you.
So you see, you don't need a ‘local network’ but yes, you totally have a local network and now you got some ideas on how to tap into that!
The biggest part of this is just recognizing that it doesn't have to be your next-door neighbor - it’s that all of the people you've ever connected with, no matter where they are in the world are part of your local network now. People are so interconnected internationally that it doesn't matter anymore if they're not in the same city. The time when you had to have a huge network near you physically as a safety net, in order to get a job that you wanted, is past.
Try really poking around and your local network, really beefing up and warming up those connections on the social networks on the internet and taking a look at the connections that you already have and you’ll realize just how big and interconnected your network is - no matter where it's located. I promise you will get the results of a HUGE local network.
If you’ve got any networking tips or any networking questions pop them in the comments below or message me directly we all need those tips and we've all got questions, so let's share!
Yours in career goodness,