Taking Action

What Do I Do with My Network?

  • Inform your network that you are searching for job opportunities.
  • Be specific about your interest in a particular type of job or career field.
    • If you are not sure of the field, at least tell them the types of skills and abilities you want to use on the job (writing reports, presentations, etc.).
  • Ask if they know of anyone who may be aware of openings.
    • If they do, request to use their name when contacting the new person.
  • Request that you exchange contact information and ask if you can stay connected.
  • Send a thank you note

Should I Only Contact People I Know?

  • No. Focus on increasing the size of your network.
  • Contact employers directly.
    • Target a number of employers who may hire someone with your talents and skills.
    • Use CareerShift, a database of national and international organizations.
      • In addition to information about the organization, you will also get links to key people, the organization’s LinkedIn profile, and jobs at the organization.
    • Identify specific individuals to contact (e.g. a recruiter, human resource person, or someone working in your area of interest).
  • Connect with alumni and your relevant groups on LinkedIn, utilize CareerShift, and follow potential employers on Twitter.

Once I Target the Appropriate Person, then What?

  • A message of introduction followed by a phone call to the contact person is the best way to ask about discussing your career situation.
  • Succinctly explain why you are calling or writing.
    • If you are being referred by someone else, mention their name.
  • Be polite and professional to everyone.
  • Always be up front with the people you contact.
    • If you are asking for an appointment with someone because you are seeking job search "advice”, don't try to get them to hire you.
  • If you want to explore job possibilities with a particular individual, be upfront.

What if People Aren’t Helpful?

  • As you move along in your networking campaign, you'll hear people say that they don't know of any openings at the moment.
    • Tell the contact that any advice about the job market in that field is appreciated, as well as the names of anyone else who may be able to help.
  • If someone refuses to help, simply thank them and move on.

What Should I Do When I Meet with My Contact?


Is There Anything Else I Can Do?

  • Identify professional associations affiliated with your field.
  • A professional association is an organization made up of members who work in a particular field.
    • You can find professional associations online or on LinkedIn.
  • Address the fact that you are interested in gathering information about the field, inquire about membership, and find out if the association offers services such as: career information, newsletters and journals, conferences and seminars, membership directory, placement services, professional referrals, regional groups, and free resources.

Final Tips

  • Networking is a key aspect of sourcing opportunities that are not posted.
  • Keep a log of who you contact and when.
  • Stay up to date on trends in your field to discuss in informational interviews.
  • If you are interested in more than one field, run two separate networking campaigns.
  • Practice your introduction.
    • Hello my name is Chris R. Candidate. Mary Smith, my economics professor at Buffalo State, suggested I contact you regarding career possibilities within the banking industry. Would you have a moment to speak with me?
    • Good afternoon, Ms. Jones, I have recently graduated with a degree in business. I was hoping to speak with you regarding the service industry. Would you have some time this week for a short conversation?
  • Be patient and persistent.
  • Have an updated resume just in case! If you contact a person to find out more about your career field of interest, do not ask for employment.
  • When appropriate, ask for a business card so you can stay in contact.

Career Development Center

Buffalo State College  •  1300 Elmwood Avenue  •  Cleveland Hall 306
Buffalo, New York 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-5811  •  Fax: (716) 878-3152

askcdc@buffalostate.edu