toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

November 27, 2006

relocating and networking

Binnie's family moved to a new state shortly after she graduated and not being able to support herself she moved with them. In doing so, Binnie lost easy access to the most valuable resource for gaining a job - contacts!

Undaunted, Binnie kept in close touch with her old contacts and set about starting up a brand new network of contacts in her new area.

"I knew that the only way I was going to get a job was through recommendation," explains Binnie, "so I had to work hard on all the people I already knew as well as getting out and about in my new area in order to make new contacts."

Binnie started by making a list of all the people she knew. Everyone.

"Before I started networking with new people I practiced on the people I did know," explains Binnie. "I called everyone on my list and let them know that I was looking for a job and asked them to keep me in mind when they went about their daily business. Old Uncle Harry may be retired, but he probably knows quite a lot of people in positions of power at his local club, and same thing goes for my old college teachers. Being in a different area made things difficult, but the world is a small place. You never know who can help."

Next, Binnie scanned the papers, particularly the local paper, for events. People in positions of power attend events and she needed to get her face and name known - as well as her situation.

"I checked out everything," laughs Binnie. "Political party meetings, rallies, local P & C meetings, lectures, etc. You name it, I checked it out, even though I was sometimes totally out of place."

"I then started a second list and added to it all the names of the people I met at local events," says Binnie. "And alongside their names, I added comments as well as their telephone numbers and addresses. I got a business card printed very cheaply, and exchanged my card with everyone I met. Within weeks, I had collected hundreds of cards!"

Next, Binnie checked the telephone book for local clubs. Chess, bridge, tennis, Rotary, whatever!

"You don't need to fork out hefty fees to join these clubs," says Binnie. "Most of them have free access for visitors, and I went along and got myself known at lots of local clubs. The best places to network are the local business clubs where powerful people hang out."

"I then started a third list and added to it all the names of the people I had met at local clubs," says Binnie. "With three lists of contacts, I then had a database of over 1,000 people. I sorted them into helpful and unhelpful contacts, and then strengthened my bond with the helpful contacts by calling them regularly and continuing to attend the events and the clubs that they went to."

"I also roped my family into networking for me," laughs Binnie. "Mom doesn't work but she talks me up big to everyone she meets at the mall, and dad is asking around at work if anyone wants to hire a bright young graduate."

"I also gained my parents' permission to do some entertaining at home," says Binnie. "It was a bit inconvenient at the start because we had just moved into the house, but entertaining at home is vital for networking. People get to see your family and where you live. Hopefully they'll be impressed!"

"I had small dinner parties for a few select new contacts," says Binnie, "and large open-house parties where everyone was welcome to drop by."

"Because networking takes time and trust must be developed," explains Binnie, "I don't expect things to happen quickly. I'm expecting to get results within a year."

Binnie has already got a few 'bites' but they are not exactly what she wants. She still turns up to attend the job interviews that her contacts arrange for her on the basis that she is new on the networking scene and understands that people may not be willing to recommend her without reservation. They are testing her.

"Personal recommendations are worth more than you can ever imagine," explains Binnie. "Whatever offer I get is made on the provision that I will make good. I show them that I'm serious, and willing to go along with whatever is offered. The outcome of every job interview I attend on a personal recommendation is going to get back to the source. Even if the job is not what I want, it's important for me to be courteous. If I'm good enough, then even the employers whose jobs I reject are going to be willing to help me. At least I hope so!"

"Becoming a networker is not only the best way to find a job but also the best way to overcome unemployment blues," says Binnie. "I've made some great new contacts and I'm absolutely positive that ultimately I'll get the dream job I want."

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