The question that I have received most this week is, “What is one of the most important things that you can say to someone who is looking for a job”?

Answer: Leverage Your Network!!

Your network is one of the most important tools in your professional/career tool box that you have. As your mother used to say, “It’s not what you know but WHO you know”. Many times we look around and we say,” I don’t know anyone who can help me”, “I am not well connected”, “I don’t have a network”! You most certainly DO have a network and your network has POWER!

Think about all of the people that you are connected to: family, friends, teachers, classmates, current employers, former employers, current co-workers, former co-workers, clergy, church friends, people that you volunteer with, people who have done work FOR you, mentors, mentees, etc. All of these people are in your network and could potentially help you find your next job or introduce you to someone who could get you an interview or get your resume in front of the right person. Use these people and more importantly be willing to be used by those in your network.

You must be able to give them a succinct “pitch” about who you are and why you are looking for a specific position. You must be able to “sell” whoever you are tapping in your network on the position that you are seeking. They must feel very excited and be able to articulate your candidacy to someone else. You can’t just say, will you give my resume to so and so”, you must be able to tell them WHY you want to get your resume in front of that person and why you think you would be great for that job in a few short sentences and you must say it in a way that your network person can easily repeat.

Don’t forget to tap your mentees. Just because they may be junior to you, doesn’t mean that they can’t make it happen for YOU. You have invested in them and they want to be able to help you.

Lastly, always follow up with those that you have tapped in your network, whether the outcome is favorable or not.