Employed and looking for a Job – How do I use my network?

Personal Relationships trump just a business relationship every dayI met with a professional the other day who is employed and looking for a job. He is a business developer for a large brand and relies on his network to find opportunities and make new connections.

He asked me, “How do I use my network to find a new job while I also use my network to do my current job?”

I’m sure he is not the only one with this issue.

You don’t want to negatively affect your business network by talking about your job search needs at the cost of disrupting your business development momentum.

You don’t want to give your business network the perception that you don’t care about your current job and your business relationship with them as it relates to your current business. This could reduce their professional opinion of you.

It’s important not to do anything that will negatively impact your business, business network and your current job.

However, there is a way to use your business network in your job search, while still doing your current job.

Work to turn your business relationships into personal relationships. Maybe only in a general sense or maybe into a truly trusting, respecting and caring level. You can’t do this with all of your business connections, however you’ll be surprised to find that many business professionals also want to expand their network into stronger personal connections. This will take some time, but the benefits of expanding your business network into more of a personal network is significant.

A personal relationship will understand your needs to change jobs and be more willing to help.

Continue networking and working with your business connections as you need for your current job. However where appropriate and possible, begin to engage your network in more personal conversations.

Build a list of 5-10 people in your professional network that you feel could become personal relationships. People who already really like you, trust and respect you. As you can, expand the conversations into less business and more personal conversations. Talk about community, family, appropriate world topics and let the discussions go in ways you never considered when you thought of these people as business connections. Ask questions about your connection, make the conversations all about them and let them share and talk about any topic they wish, as long as the conversations are appropriate based on your developing personal relationship.

While you are working to create a higher level personal relationship with your business connections, do what you can to help them. Any amount of “give” will help you to propel your personal relationship building activity.

Eventually you business connection will begin to become a personal relationship that you are doing business with.

Better yet, eventually this new personal connection will ask you questions that opens the door for you to share with them that you are considering another career step.

Be respectful to your business relationship, while confirming your commitment to them professional and personally. Never bad mouth your current employer or talk ill about your current job. And, don’t ask for a job, instead ask for guidance, ideas and other connection possibilities. Share with your personal connection what your are hoping to do, keep the conversation positive and professional.

If you convert a business connection into a personal relationship, they are far more willing to help you however they can. And doing this work is far more rewarding and enjoyable than the old way of “Click, click, click, apply, apply, apply, pray, pray, pray.”

What ideas do you have about turning your business connections into personal relationships?

Author: tlburriss

I am a Networking Strategist and LinkedIn coach and Trainer. I live by my personal edict, "Networking is finding, developing and nurturing relationships that mutually move people forward thru life." I want to help people become better Networkers and better LinkedIn users focused on their business and career goals.