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I hear that if you are in the job search before you start networking, it's too late. Any truth to that? I'm getting started late...

I hear that if you are in the job search before you start networking, it's too late. That is, if you have not built up the network before you need them, it's too late to build it b/c everyone will feel like you are just using them to find work. Any truth to that? I'm getting started late...


Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

Original Question: I hear that if you are in the job search before you start networking, it's too late. Any truth to that? I'm getting started late...

With 80% of the roles coming through networking versus job boards/recruiters, its where you want to spend your time.

First, you are not alone. The vast majority of candidates I've met (about 250 over past two years) have let their network lapse due to time commitment for work, family, etc. - I only mention this so you don't spend too much time worrying about it.

Second, an active network speeds up the process. If you are starting cold, then set your expectations that it may take you a bit longer than the colleague with an active network. This expectation will help limit your frustration later.

Third, let's get you started in priority order of building the network

a) Family and friends - put the word out because this group is your support structure. They know you best and will go out of the way to help.

b) Vested Interest - these are colleagues who know your work or have had a positive working relationship. Former bosses, peers, employees, clients, vendors, professional service (e.g. lawyers, etc.). It does not matter if the relationship is 10 years ago - good work is still good work. These people will be willing to make introductions, be a reference, or pitch you.

c) Connections with common interest - These are people where there are organized groups: college/grad school alumni/ae, profession (e.g. finance), industry, etc. People who are active in these group usually have a strong affinity toward networking and supporting other members in the group. Also, these groups almost always have a 'career services' element.

Fourth, help them help you. You need to develop three key documents to make it easy for your network to help you.
a) Marketing Plan - States the title, industry, company size, ownership type, and geographic location
b) Targeted Company - Provides the networking contact a specific list of firms that you are interested in
c) Resume - shows them you have the experience for the role and industry being targeted.

If you don't know how to develop a Marketing Plan or Targeted Company List - please visit - look under "Tools You'll Need" to find templates.

Lastly, to get up the curve quickly, always find out how you can help them - if you build a relationship with your networking - chances are it will be there when you need it in the future.

Good luck.



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