In my last column, I gave you two tips for developing relationships with key contacts who could help with your job search. These influential connections have the potential to give you everything from guidance and contact information to internal referrals and insider information about a particular company’s hiring process.

Asking leading questions is both an art and a science. The idea is to find opportunities to become part of these people’s lives. Say someone is struggling to promote his company on social media, and you know how to do that. Or another person would love to upgrade her branding, and you have the right design skills to help.

Here are three more tips for getting to know the right people:

Find a need. Keep asking questions until you discover an area in which you can help them. Leverage this into an opportunity to build a relationship. Remember, people are inclined to surround themselves with those who can help them — not those looking for jobs.

Become a resource. Offer to help. You might be thinking, “Hey, I’m the one with the need — I need a job!” Consider reciprocity, or the act of returning a favor. If you help others in need, chances are they’ll help you when you need it.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to build relationships, perhaps because you were too busy working 12 hours a day, you can’t expect immediate returns or results. However, if you do take the time to invest in people — however small that may be — the payoff can be limitless.

Follow up and deliver. Once you’ve identified their needs and offered to help, you have to follow through. These are people you identified as likely to help you attain your goals and make introductions for you, so you need to show them what you can do for them.

After that happens, some might thank you and say, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Resist the temptation to inundate your new contacts with ways that they can repay you. Instead, avoid answering immediately and play it cool. Otherwise, it will look like you helped them just to get something in return.

The larger lesson here: Foster your relationships while you’re employed so you don’t have to build them from scratch again.

Live Seminars in December

The Career Search Excellence seminar is packed with only the hottest tips and tricks for professionals seeking a new opportunity – giving you a competitive edge over the competition. The seminar is free (sponsored) and there are three dates to choose from in December.
  • December 5 (Bellevue, WA)
  • December 8 (Bellevue, WA)
  • December 10 (Bellevue, WA)
Register Now (It's free.)
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