Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Networking tips: Approaching your contacts

Author: Michelle Mudge-Riley, DO, MHA

Are you comfortable asking people in your address book or social network about jobs and opportunities?

How do you appropriately contact these people about jobs within their companies?

Consider this: You might not want to do that.

Utilizing your contacts just to find out about jobs within their companies is a waste of their time and a waste of your time. Your contacts are relationships that must be cultivated and respected. By continuing to build a relationship with the people you know professionally, you may find out how to work at their company but you may also open up other opportunities you didn’t think about. This could lead to a job being created for you or a job at a different (maybe better!) company.

Consider thinking about these questions before approaching your contact.

1. What’s important to your contact? What drives your contact? What are his/her personal goals? What/who do you know that could help your contact? What does your contact do outside of work?

2. What’s your contact’s role at the company/How do they like their job/What challenges are your contact’s department facing today? Get your contact talking about himself. People love talking about themselves more than any other topic – this is a great way to open them up to talking about what’s more important to you.

Once you ask and consider responses to these questions, you can follow up with a focused e-mail asking specific questions and offering concrete solutions and ideas. But this isn’t the end of it. In my next blog, I will present three more questions for you to ask and consider as you learn more about your contact and the company/industry you are interested in.

About the author:

Dr. Mudge-Riley is a senior consultant for brokerage firms, health systems and large employers in wellness and health promotion and President of Physicians Helping Physicians in Richmond, Virginia.  She has spent the past seven years advising and coaching other doctors in their career by counseling physicians on business skills, assisting with compliance and risk management issues and mentoring in personal wellness and balance.  She has worked with hundreds of doctors and in various health systems located throughout the United States. To read more about Dr. Mudge-Riley, click here.

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