When it comes to rallying your personal contact network in support of your job search, and maximizing your chances of referrals, I’ve got four words of advice for you: communicate early — and often!
As part of this strategy, I’ve recommended to clients for many years that they fire off a “broadcast” e-mail to everybody in their network, right at the start of their search, to get everybody on the same page and let them know about their availability and ideal job/company targets. While you don’t want to make a habit of this and send a form letter to people each and every month, necessarily, I believe anybody you’d truly call “friend” will be just fine with receiving one heads-up note along these lines, initially.
The benefit of this initial “shotgun” strategy? It’s twofold. For starters, when you’re looking for a new job, you’re usually racing against a clock. So if you have 150 people in your network, let’s say, it’s going to take you MONTHS to get in touch with each and every person and talk with them on an individual basis. So by announcing your search to everybody, up front, you’ll avoid the disappointment of talking to somebody down the road who tells you “Oh no! If I only knew you were looking three weeks ago, I heard about this great lead, but now it’s been filled.”
What’s more, after helping numerous clients deploy this type of broadcast letter over the years, I promise you that you’ll be shocked to see who responds to your e-mail and who doesn’t. Time after time, I see people who think they can predict where the best leads and help are going to come from, among their network, but in the majority of cases it’s not one’s “bosom buddies” who end up providing the most support — it’s person #148, whom they haven’t seen for years and almost left off the list! So again, if you make sure EVERYBODY in your network knows you’re looking, right off the bat, you’re likely to get a surge of leads, feedback, and moral support that would take months to accomplish in “serial” fashion meeting with one person at a time.
The main reason I’m showcasing this topic today, however, is that I, myself, was the recipient of just such an e-mail message from an executive in my network yesterday. This person wrote one of the BEST letters of this type I’ve ever seen — and I therefore begged his permission to share it, which he was kind enough to grant. We decided to keep his individual and corporate identity anonymous, just to be safe, but here’s the note he sent along — which I thought contained some brilliant copywriting and captured just the right tone of warmth, clarity, and professionalism.
SAMPLE BROADCAST NETWORKING E-MAIL:
“Friends, colleagues, fellow travelers:
I’m writing today to let you know that I have now left XYZ Manufacturing Corporation where I was serving as President and COO. It has been a wild ride with much success, many challenges, and plenty of memorable victories as well as some disappointments.
Here is a summary of what I was able to accomplish:
- Hired as the first employee of the newly formed public company, I personally built the cross-functional leadership team that led execution of fast growth first year from $42K revenue in first quarter to $8M annual run rate over a 15 month period.
- Led development of services division performing application engineering and global turnkey installation services to support a new direct sales model that was a key driver to the top line growth, representing 60% of total sales.
- Assumed direct leadership of manufacturing and supply chain operation replacing under-performing supplier and managing fast-track ramp of new supplier through bi-lateral program management and daily meetings to successfully meet the quarterly revenue growth goal of 58% from prior quarter.
I would summarize my key strengths this way—I am a supportive leader whose strategic outlook identifies and focuses on the right objectives and also a process-oriented mentor and team builder who can effectively orient and focus the team on execution for overcoming critical barriers to success. I’ve helped early stage businesses get off to a good start and unlocked growth in businesses that have stalled.
My target job will be leading a business or a part of a business. It may be a whole startup organization or a unit of a much larger company. I’m looking for responsibility with authority in an organization that knows what it wants but doesn’t know how to get there, or an organization that needs help getting focused on the right set of critical objectives.
In the coming days and weeks I may be reaching out to you as someone that I respect to help me to expand my network and get my message out. I’ll be meeting lots of interesting people along the way so I’ll be very interested in learning what you’re up to and how I can assist as I proceed. I will sincerely appreciate any assist you can offer. And yes—there will be coffee. Warm regards…”
Again, if you’re looking for a great sample of this kind of letter to emulate, you could do far worse than borrowing some ideas and concepts from the message above. Even down to the last line — “and yes, there will be coffee!” — I was impressed by how well this note came across and how positive it seemed to be, despite the adverse circumstances. And for what it’s worth, the individual in question told me he’s already received a handful of leads and useful referrals a mere 24 hours after sending it out to his network!
Thanks again to the kind soul (you know who you are!) who allowed me to share this example with my readership, and if this note triggered any ideas or thoughts among any of you out there, relative to his background and qualifications, definitely don’t hesitate to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll pass them along!