July 21, 2009

Q&A: No connections, no opportunities

Filed under: Job Search, Q&A

Question
As someone who’s rather “out of the loop,” living out in the country, I don’t have social or business connections with the folks at the in-city companies for which I should be working. Is there any best method for finding and approaching the decision-makers who have the problems that I certainly can solve?

Until now I’ve depended on the whims of personnel jockeys, but now that doesn’t work, the listed jobs being so few. Personally, I have no lack of work, but it’s all farm work on my farm, and leads to gaposis of the
resume. I’m sure that in spite of the absence of job listings, the problems are still out there, hidden from me. How do I best find them and the folks who need them solved?

Nick’s Reply
Gaposis… That’s a good one!

But there’s no excuse for gaposis in relationships… You can meet those people online. Through LinkedIn, through business/professional web sites that have discussion forums, and by e-mailing them after you’ve read an article in which they are mentioned.

Make a contact or two that way, and it’s worth leaving the farm for a visit to the big city ;-).

I have a similar problem. My office is out in the boonies. And I love it here. But I make time to go to the city (and to big towns!) and to hang out among the people who do the work I do (and want to do). Face time is more precious than online time… You just have to do it.

Did you go to college? Does your alumni association have a branch in a nearby city? Join, go, mingle. Don’t worry about meeting people at the companies where you want to work. A few “links” and soon you’ll be finding them.

.

3 Comments on “Q&A: No connections, no opportunities”
By Aarthy
July 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Although I live in a city, its a new place, and I don’t have many contacts. As a grad student, you don’t usually have the funds to attend every conference you want to participate in. I try to meet the people who give talks at my university, and attend alumni sponsored events.

Its harder to meet people and develop relationships exactly when you need the job. It works better with time, but that’s a luxury we don’t always have in our job search.

By Another Steve
July 22, 2009 at 9:12 am

I agree, conferences are expensive on a grad student budget. Been there, done that. However, nearly all professional organizations offer student memberships at a fairly steep discount, usually about $75 a year, and have local chapters in major and mid-sized cities. Your university may also have a student chapter that brings in speakers and guests from the field. Think IEEE, STC, SHRM, ASTD, etc.

Find one or two organizations related to your major and the work you want to do, attend a local meeting as a guest, and do what Nick suggests: talk to the people there about the work they do. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself as the new person to the group, but don’t be afraid to turn the questions back on the questioners and ask things like, “How does that compare to your experience?”

When you find a fit, join, and build your network from there.

By Aarthy
July 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thanks for the ideas, Steve. I have worked with some cultural organizations and enjoyed meeting people from different places, and learnt a lot. I’m surprised I did not think of a similar setting to meet professionals in my area. Really glad you pointed that out!

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