36 Sources of Networking Contacts
As you may know, networking is the number one job search strategy. One of your initial steps will be to identify a list of networking contacts. You may be thinking, “I don’t really have a network! Where am I supposed to find all these contacts?” It may be a real challenge to generate names, but the list below may help you uncover all the connections in both your personal and professional life.

1. Athletic Teams (ie. Golf League, Soccer Club, Softball Team, etc.)

2. Business Card Rolodex

3. Career Counselors

4. Chambers of Commerce Members

5. Classmates/Alumni

6. Clergy/Houses of Faith

7. Conference Attendees

8. Elected Officials

9. Email Address Book

10. Ex-employers

11. Family (ie. Parents, God Parents, Spouse, Siblings, In-laws, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, etc.)

12. Fellow Job Seekers (Share Leads)

13. Former Competitors

14. Former Co-workers

15. Former Customers/Clients

16. Former Supervisors

17. Former Faculty/Teachers/Administrators

18. Former Neighbors

19. Fraternity/Sorority Members

20. Friends

21. Holiday Card List

22. Lodges (ie. Elks, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.)

23. Mentors

24. NYS Department of Labor

25. Neighbors

26. Private Clubs

27. Professional Associations

28. Professional Colleagues

29. PTA

30. Service Providers (ie. Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Therapists, CPA etc.)

31. Social Acquaintances

32. Social Networking Sites (ie. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, etc.)

33. Staffing Agencies

34. Telephone Address Book

35. Volunteer Activities

36. Volunteer Board Members

After you have developed a raw list of people, start to prioritize how helpful each one would be in your search. Be clear on which ones are in your “Primary Network” – defined as your closest connections and the people that are looking out for you the most. Networking may be uncomfortable for some people so contact these people first. Next, go to your “Secondary Network” – defined as a larger circle of relationships that will help you if you ask. Your networking list can be divided up into 4 categories of people:

1. Hiring Authorities – people that have the power to give you an offer.

2. Job Lead Providers – individuals that can generate job openings.

3. Connectors – people that can open doors to other people that might be either Hiring Authorities or Job Lead Providers.

4. Advisors – contacts that motivate and give candid advice about job searching, the field, your resume and cover letter.

I recommend that you develop a system or spreadsheet for keeping track of your progress. This could include such headings as the contact’s name, type of contact, company name, phone, email, website, date called, meeting date, resumes given, follow-up action and notes. Networking is conversation with a purpose – a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, positive energy, advice, referrals, leads or contacts. Be sure it’s a fair trade and you are giving something back. Next week, I’ll discuss how to initiate and actually conduct the Informational Interview – stay tuned.

Dr. Tom’s Tip: It’s career search suicide to keep your job hunt to yourself.