Help Me Help You: Six Networking Tips for Job Seekers


Networking 7975205041_ff72b12642_hOver the last couple of years, I’ve met hundreds of very experienced and qualified job-seeking executives who made professional networking their temporary full-time jobs. Here are some networking tips and reminders from these leaders and from my own experience – especially targeted for job seekers.

  1. Be prepared – One finance leader I know recently landed a job by being prepared. Before interviewing with one company, he reviewed their website and their leaders’ bios, and he asked mutual connections about these leaders. He learned that their CEO had written an autobiography, and he read it. His preparation made it obvious to them that he was very interested and willing to do his homework. This made the difference in getting hired.
  2. Be clear and specific – If you’re looking for a job and want me to help, please tell me exactly what kind of role you want. E.g., “I’m looking for the top HR role in a mid-sized company or in a division of a larger company in the healthcare industry – ideally a pharmaceuticals company, such as Happydrug Company or Megapharma Inc.” If you aren’t clear on that yet, then tell me how I can best help you on your way to getting clear.
  3. Be unique – I will also appreciate it if you can tell me what unique experiences and contributions you bring to the table. E.g., “I’ve had experience with all aspects of HR, but I have deep skills in designing global compensation and benefits systems. I also have experience successfully implementing shared services with global organizations.”
  4. Be assertive – If you know certain companies where you’d like to work, ask me if I know anyone there who could be helpful for you to know. If you show me a list of 20 sample companies you’re targeting, I bet I’ll think of a few people you should contact. I will probably even be willing to contact them on your behalf. Just ask. And don’t forget to look on LinkedIn to see who works there that is connected to you. Or to see who you know that is connected to someone that works there. Then see if they will make an intro for you.
  5. Be generous – Don’t make our conversation completely about you. And  please don’t wait until we’re standing up to leave the coffee shop to ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Ask me what kinds of clients and companies I like to work with and if there are introductions you can make for me. Or look for another way to help me or my family.
  6. Be patient and positive – If you’re overly stressed and feeling hopeless, this will spill over when you talk with others. I’m not saying to fake it. But do what you need to do to deal with the emotional valleys of your job search so you don’t sabotage yourself when you meet with me or others.

I really do want to help you find that next job. Keep these tips in mind, and you will help me help you.

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Joe Baker is a Partner and Executive Coach with PeopleResults. He also serves on the board of Executive Leaders in Transition Exchange (ELITE), a non-profit organization that helps senior HR and finance leaders find jobs through networking.  You can reach him at or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr