How to Leverage Family Networks

How to Leverage Family Networks

Martin Yate CPC
NY Times bestselling author
Knock em Dead The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2012
Copyright 2012 all rights reserved

There is good news and bad news about getting your family to help with your job search. The good news is that the people who know you best really want to help. The bad news is that many lovingly recall the sweet ten-year-old you once were, not the competent professional you are today. In other words, you have been categorized, stereotyped, and pigeonholed as a snot-nosed brat.

It is often hard for family members to separate memories from today’s reality. Odds are that they don’t know what you are capable of doing or what you want to do. Case in point: After fourteen books and millions of copies sold, my immediate family is still genuinely surprised that I know to come inside when it rains.
It is easy to squander this potentially valuable resource by tapping into it before you have thought through how you can best help your extended family help you. Unlike the contacts you make in your professional networks, family members often don’t have a full grasp of what you do for a living. On the other hand, they are highly motivated to help you. It is easy to confuse members of your family network by assuming they understand the adult professional you somehow grew into.
However, with the right guidance, your immediate family circle can cast a wide net and come up with leads for you, even if, like dear Aunt Aggie, they have nothing to do with the professional world.
Here are the steps to help your loved ones help you:
·      Think carefully about what you do for a living and put it in a one- or two-sentence description that even Aunt Aggie can grasp: “I am a computer programmer; I write the instructions that help computers run.”
·      Think carefully about the job you want, the kind of company you will work for, and the kind of people you need to talk to. Condense it into a one- or two-sentence expla­nation: “I’m looking for a job with another computer company. It would be great if you or your friends knew anyone I could talk to who works with computers.” Keep it really simple.
·      Give them the information you need to get in touch with these people: “I am looking for the names, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of anyone in these areas (but maybe don’t confuse Aunty Aggie with e-mail talk). I’m not looking for someone to hire me; I’m just looking for people in my field with whom I can network.”
This process of breaking your networking needs into just three simple statements gives your immediate circle something they can really work with. You can do this with them one-on-one, or you can get everyone together for a barbecue and get the new program moving in one fell swoop.

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