Acton Networkers




Your Comments on This Section Are Welcome

Network, Network, Network - You've heard all of the hype over number of calls, number of informational interviews, number of contacts that will land you a job.

By and large it's true if you add a bit of luck to the mix
Right place, right time, right stuff!

Lately the people who've landed tend to go to work for a previous boss. So your first action after you've completed "Getting started" is to contact your previous bosses and let them know you're available, need their help, want to contact them from time to time and ask if they know anyone that they should talk to - anyone - whether they may have open positions or not.


Networking is very hard work.

  • You will be disappointed with the level of help you will get from your closest contacts.
  • You will be surprised the extent your next tier of contacts will help. Be prepared (referred to you by your closest groups)
  • If you are in sales, you're used to rejection. If not, be prepared to be frustrated and face rejection or lack of cooperation. It's inevitable.

Networking Groups

The beginning

  1. Figure out how you're going to maintain a record listing your contacts and all of the dates and summary of conversations or written communications. For some ideas see Chapter 5.2 Contact Management Options. 

    Bottom line: Whatever method you choose, you need to be able to sort and select your contacts based on company affiliation, name, who referred you to the name. You must be able to find follow-up dates to trigger another e-mail or conversation.

  2. Establish groupings to put your contacts in - think of degrees of separation
    - Direct familiarity => contacts drawn from directs => contacts of contacts etc.
    Make sure you record the chain of who recommended you speak to whom! Ex. John referred you to Mike who referred you to Al etc etc. You need to know this for future communications and just for your memory as you drive to contacts of contacts.

    a. First Tier - They know you

    1. Family
    2. Friends
    3. Business Associates

    b. Second tier

    1. Contacts referred to you by first tier people
    2. Including recruiters

    c. Third and succeeding tiers - contacts of contacts - you do not know them personally or the people who gave you the contact.

  3. Identify people you know personally and put them in your contact management listing including any contact information you have handy - Phone, e-mail address

  4. Begin your campaign
  5. a. Write a script - even for your first tier conversations

    b. Tier 1 contacts - Call your first tier contacts - this is best practice. Try to avoid e-mail.

    1. Tell them what's going on; You need their help; Here's the direction of your search (industry, geography etc) and get their e-mail address; ask for contacts.

    2. Very important! Make sure you can use their name when contacting these second tier people.

    3. Switch to e-mail from this point forward and follow-up with a thank you note and a reminder on contacts they promised. Include a copy of your resume - ask for their advice on your resume.

    c. Next Tier contacts:

    1. Everyone uses e-mail. Everyone has gatekeepers and getting through by phone is touch and go. It's less threatening by e-mail. Out-placement firms will tell you to make your first contact by phone. My opinion is don't do it. I have had nearly 100% response rate to my e-mail approach. It's just so easy - on both of you. And phone contact - arranged in advance - can then be used.

    2. Send your first e-mail out - See sample text

    3. Follow-up with a phone call 3 or 4 days later - never on a Monday - leave a message if you don't get through.

    4. A week later - send a follow-up e-mail that includes the first e-mail text

Sample First contact E-Mail text - MUST be able to be read in 10 seconds or less

E-Mail Subject line: "Jim Smith suggested I contact you"

"Jim and I have exchanged information regarding my search for a new position. He strongly suggested you would be an excellent person to approach for advice in this regard.

I do not expect you to have or even know of a suitable position. But, given Jim's advice, I would very much appreciate half an hour of your time to discuss the direction and focus of my search. (Or perhaps have breakfast or lunch)

I will call next Tuesday to see if there is a convenient time to meet.

Thank you in advance for your time. It's a precious commodity."


Your name and contact info.

Another sample

I was speaking to Jim Smith yesterday and he thought you would be an excellent candidate for any advice you might be able to give me regarding my job search.

I don't expect you have or even know of a suitable position, but since Jim spoke so highly of you, I wondered if you could spare 15 minutes of your time with me to discuss the direction and focus of my work.

I will call you tomorrow to see if there's a convenient time for us to meet - perhaps over a cup of coffee or lunch?


Your name and contact info

You succeeded in reaching the person with a follow-up phone call

Draft a script for a message to leave on voice mail. It should cover the following:

    • Say your name
    • Indicate the person that recommended you contact the person
    • Say you're following-up your e-mail
    • Ask for XX minutes of their time
    • Give your phone number (give your cell number to ensure they get through)
    • Say you will call them back
    • MUST take less than 30 seconds
    • If they have no time - ask if it's OK to call back in a few weeks.
    • If they only want to speak on the phone, try to delay it by saying you'll send them your resume and arrange a follow-up call. They may see your resume and want to meet you. Worst case you do it over the phone.

  You get through

Draft a script for a message. Stand up and smile - this will come across to the listener. You should cover the following:

    • Your name
    • Your following-up per Joe Smith's suggestion
    • Can I get your advice and do you have XX minutes (10 - 20). Perhaps we could grab a cup of coffee or join them for lunch. Focus on their convenience.
    • Specify a time like the next two weeks
    • If they say yes - say you'll send a copy of your resume in case they have time to read it (They won't but, still should do it + bring a few copies with you when you meet)
    • "Looking forward to meeting you, Thanks for your time"

You have an e-mail response!

They will typically ask for a copy of your resume. Send it, but push for a face-to-face informational interview. Its critical they see you.

"Sample" e-mail text following-up a conversation (Note: convert your resume to .RTF to help preserve formatting. A PDF is best but you need to buy Adobe Acrobat to do it or have a friend do it)

As we discussed, see attached. As you now know I am in search of a senior management position in information technology based in the Boston metropolitan area. My background in similar roles included the full scope of IT responsibilities required by large and medium size companies.

My record is one of delivering high value added services at low cost. I migrated from a finance and operations foundation to management of information technology services over the span of my career. This has culminated in the leadership of IT organizations supporting large ($1.5 to $2.8 MM) enterprises. I possess an intuitive understanding of IT that translate into effective management of technical personnel. Also, my finance and operational background has provided me with an ability to translate business objectives into IT strategies and tactics.

Again, thank you for your help. Should you wish to contact me, I recommend you use my cell phone or e-mail.


Your name and contact info.

Short & sweet:

Thanks for the call back. Much appreciated. See attached for resume, cover letter and supporting details as we discussed. Looking forward to meeting you. Coffee's on me.

Thanks again


Research the company, products, competition - See Chapter 5 - tips on researching

The meeting

  • Be on time!
  • Have your resume
  • Get directions and parking instructions in advance
  • See Chapter 7 focus on "Questions you can ask the interviewer"
  • Have a list of target companies you want to ask about - But don't limit yourself to these
    • Get ANY contacts they think would help you and ask if you can use their name
    • They may say they want to contact their referrals first and then pass them to you if it's OK with the referral. This will be for follow-up later.

Meeting Follow-up

  • Thank them
  • Tell them you'll contact (Jim smith, Joe Schmo )
  • Contact Jim Smith and Joe Schmo - You ABSOLUTY MUST follow through on this.


  • Send a request to selected people individually on your contact list to see if they know anyone.
  • Broadcast a request to members of your networking groups