What do you do when you need a new job and your network is as cold as ice?
That is the question posed to me recently via email by a man we will call Mark.
I’ve recently read your posts about keeping your network warm and I know what will help me long-term, but I need to get out of my current job NOW!!!
It’s toxic, stressful, and causing numerous problems outside of work. I feel disrespected, belittled, and I need out. But I also need the money.
My network is super cold. I only recently started using LinkedIn and I’ve never intentionally reached out to anyone.
Any advice is appreciated.
As you know, I am a huge fan of intentional networking. I’ve written about it extensively and will include links to previous posts on the top at the end of this post.
(Full disclosure: I haven’t followed my own rules this month. I’ll admit it. I’m three weeks behind on my quarterly reach out emails. Three weeks out of five years…yeah, I’ll take that)
So what can Mark do? His network is ice cold. Most people haven’t heard from him in ages. He didn’t mention it in the email, but he lives in a small town. He works in a highly-specialized industry that he loves and working remotely is very uncommon. His wife works part-time from home and cares for their two young children.
There are five steps to take in this situation. I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments as well. Together, we can help Mark…and each other.
5 steps to find a new job when your network is cold
- Realize not everyone is cold. Your entire network is not ice cold. You probably have five or ten close friends who can help. There is hope.
- Identify the objective and boundaries. Is your objective to replace your current income? Can you afford to make a little less? Do you want to start your own business? Are you open to moving? You need to figure out those things.
- Build your emergency fund. This is a good time to start a second job, as an entrepreneur, doing freelance work, or getting a part-time job. It’s also a good time for your wife to bring in more income, if she can. You also might find something full-time in this process. This might also be a good time to sell something, especially something that has you in debt. You aren’t desperate yet. Desperate people are horrible salespeople, so sell stuff now when you have some negotiating power. Now is the time to sell that $40,000 car, boat, or other toy that will create a nice emergency fund. This isn’t the easiest of steps, but it’s a whole lot easier to quit your job when you’ve had it if you’ve’ got $50,000 in the bank as opposed to $1,000.
- Immediately build and warm up your network.
- Email everyone currently in your network today. Just ask about them, tell them how you are, and ask if you can help with anything.
- Join the Thank You Revolution and start writing thank you notes like mad man.
- Take some friends to lunch.
- Post updates and share good articles on LinkedIn so you come across people’s radars more often.
- Respond to others’ updates and shares.
- Share articles with people one-on-one.
- Ask your close friends who you need to know and get to know them. (I will write about this in the future, but here is a great question to ask: “Who are the five people I need to know in this town?” When you ask that of five people, you will get twenty referrals, then ask those twenty. Soon you have a network of one hundred influential people.)
- Here are four posts to help: Maintaining a Warm Network – What I’ve Done | Your Networking Budget – 200 Hours and $1000 | Give to Grow Your Network | How NOT to Network on LinkedIn
- Start looking and asking. If you hypothetically have no network at all, start looking where people do post jobs. I’ve never personally had been hired as a result of a job posting, but it does work, especially in a bind like this. Don’t apply online unless that is the only option. Find the right person using a site like LinkedIn or Jigsaw. Contact them directly. Assuming you do know a few other human beings, ask them. Repeatedly.
You might be near the end of your rope, Mark. This time is going to be hard. So don’t let it happen again. Start warming up your network for the next time, because there will be a next time.
What tips do you have for Mark or someone else in this situation?