How's About Job Hunt Networking – Cold Turkey – in a New City?
I have moved to three major cities without a job already lined up. In each city, I had only a few friends or relatives to help me get settled. Being outgoing by nature and having a desire to connect with others, I started networking with the one or two contacts I had when I arrived. These people had been referred to me by former colleagues or friends.
In networking, I created a standard that anytime I sat down with a new contact; I had to get the names of at least five people in my field. I would call each person for an informational interview on the phone or make arrangements to get together. My goal was to meet with a minimum of two people per week. It’s really important to get a face-to-face informational interview because your contact may have more ideas about whom you should meet and possibly a better course of action for you.
For example, I met with an Executive Vice President who thought I would be good at business development. I never considered that position before, but his words certainly gave me something to think about. From that point on, I decided to look for opportunities that included business development.
Last year, when I was looking for a project management position in real estate development, I had to start from scratch. The first person I met with was a Director of New Business Development at a construction company. I met him at a CoreNet (a networking group for real estate, design industry and construction companies) luncheon to which I was invited. I scored the invitation when I contacted the CoreNet organizer and said I was new in town and networking for a job. To my surprise, she said I would be a guest at the luncheon!
Through this connection, I met other Directors of New Business Development which was great. They typically know a lot of people in town because they reach out to so many different industries.
From their acquaintances, I met real estate developers, brokers, project managers and construction executives. It was important to ask every contact about:
- their experiences:
- the pressures of completing a project on time and on budget;
- their industry expectations:
- how the market might affect their project pipeline;
- the qualities they sought in a candidate:
- what skill sets were they looking for besides MS Office.
I met so many people that I created a flow chart to show whom I’d met and how they were connected. It was a way for me to keep all of my connections organized by introduction. On occasion; I would show the chart to new contacts. It sometimes showed how connected they were to me when they saw familiar names, and certainly how connected I had become.
In the end, I did not find a job in that industry, but I did find a design industry job through a recruiter in that field. Even so, I stayed in touch with some of my contacts because there was the potential for doing business together.
Have you ever transitioned your career to another industry? If so, how did you succeed in finding your ideal job?
(Editor’s Note: Career Jockey’s “Job Seekers: Never Eat Alone Guides My Networking Approach” article reviews Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time” which is an excellent networking how-to resource book. It’s a valuable resource for both extroverted and introverted job seekers.)
Neva Murphy, an experienced project manager in the design industry, has worked in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. She has partnered with corporate end-users, architects and designers, and real estate developers on countless projects throughout her career. She gets actively involved in strategic account development and planning for national corporate accounts. She has created an Intranet website for all parties on a national account team to use as a reference for product and contact information. In her view, the ideal project manager has an excellent reputation with clients by providing the best service from order to installation, and is one who continues to grow the business every year with the sales team. Neva has also worked in the fields of venture capital and real estate development. She is originally from the Boston area and earned a B.F.A in Design from the University of Kansas.