People often ask me how I got into my current line of work, which was a career change for me. It had nothing to do with LinkedIn or my resumé. Sometimes opportunity comes from an unexpected direction.
I had always wanted to be a writer, but I never seemed able to break into the field, so I took someone’s advice. I “put it out there.” I started a regular blog, sent it to friends, family and anyone else who would listen. I told my neighbors I would love to get a job writing for a living. Then, I waited. I kept blogging, mentioning my writing aspirations in casual conversation and maintained patience.
One day, my neighbor — a realtor who knows everyone in a 50-mile radius of our houses — had a meeting with a magazine publisher who was looking for a writer. “Hey, my neighbor’s a writer! I get her blog; she’s great. Here’s her phone number.” Bingo. I was the writer she thought of, because we are friends and because she got my blog every week.
Over the past several years, I’ve grown a small, 10-hour a week position into a full-time career, all because I let people know (over and over again) what I wanted to do. I didn’t ask people for jobs or pressure them in any way; I simply mentioned I would love to make a career out of writing.
So, should you skip the resumé, cancel your LinkedIn account and forget the job search boards? No; you need all the help you can find. Here are a few simple ways to use your network:
Join a club.
Even if it has nothing to do with your profession, hooking up with others with similar hobbies allows you to connect easily through shared interests — people who are more likely to be willing to help each other.
Look up old friends.
Again, you’re not probing them for information. You’re simply reconnecting. The more you expand and nurture your social circle, the more easily good things will happen.
Find former colleagues or supervisors.
They may have moved on to other organizations, which can also expand your network.
…at the animal shelter, a school or community event.
Interview someone in your desired field.
Meet with someone already working in the position you’d like and ask them for information about how to best get into the field or what they like about it.
Employ a recruiter.
Staffing companies have ready-made access to companies and hiring managers and know how to help you present yourself in the best light.
The bottom line is, in addition to all of the standard avenues, don’t forget to put it out there to friends, family, neighbors or random strangers you meet in the coffee shop. You never know what or who will lead to your next career move.
Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_kzenon’>kzenon / 123RF Stock Photo</a>