We recommend spending 20 minutes on this section.
The first step to strategic networking is building up your list of contacts.
Networks are critical in the process of making a career transition. When you are trying to break into a new role, company, or industry, knowing the right people can help you get your foot in the door. Unfortunately, lots of career pivoters assume they don't know anyone who can help them – but we're here to show you that that's not the case. You already know more people than you think you do, and expanding your network can be surprisingly simple. In this sprint, you'll learn how to think creatively about your network, start building connections, and start strategically leveraging your contacts.
Start by writing down absolutely anyone you can think of who might help you with your job search process. This isn't the time to be selective – start thinking about mentors, co-workers, friends of friends, or even strangers who have the job you want. There's no need to limit yourself to people you know! Be creative – look up company websites, track down LinkedIn profiles, and text your friends to see if they know anyone. Challenge yourself and aim for about 50 names.
If you're stuck, try pulling up a job description and then working backwards on LinkedIn to see if you have any connections – or potential connections – with the associated hiring manager.– or potential connections – with the associated hiring manager. Not sure how to do that on LinkedIn? Here are the steps.
Another pro tip, leverage the Zeit community! Tap your cohort, review the Zeit Member Gallery to see if anyone interesting to connect with. Also, drop a note in the #interviews channel in Slack to see if anyone has connections at some of the key places you're interested in!
Job Search Strategic Networking Template
We've provided a spreadsheet to help you keep your list of contacts organized and manageable. You can find a blank copy here. Make a copy and save it for your records. It's a handy way to keep track of the essential information for every contact – how you know them, how to get in touch with them, what they do, and more. If any of this is still confusing, we've got a video explaining it all:
Let's break it down:
Keep going to the next chapter and we'll give you some key questions to reflect on after the next step!