How to network to find a new job
I consider myself an introvert so when people told me that I should network to find my next job, I felt like I had to learn a foreign language. I thought networking was for extroverts who are salespeople but I am a teacher and a painter. How could I network? Well I did, and it worked. I just had to be disciplined, diligent, and exercise my faith.
My friend works in a school district near my house and I saw they had a job opening. I asked my friend to contact people he knew in the district who would be involved in hiring for this position. This friend has known me for 14 years so I felt comfortable asking him to help. He contacted the district administrator in charge of that department and it turned out they already had the position filled. But the administrator heard my name from a trusted source so she encouraged me to apply for future openings and she knew there would be some.
A few weeks later, I saw an opening and applied. I asked my friend who I could contact in that school to request an informational interview. He contacted one of the teachers in my target department, who agreed to talk with me. I called her and asked for an interview. She said yes! My being an introvert was irrelevant. I asked and I received.
This teacher who I had never met before now became part of my network. We met for 20 minutes after school. She liked me and mentioned that I would be a good fit for that position. My friend also contacted the school principal, giving me a good reference, so now I had two people in the district working for me. When I was called for the interview, I was not surprised. I emailed the teacher in the department and asked if she would consider mentioning me in a positive manner to that principal. I do not know what she said, but I got hired!
The difference between this interview and the other dozen I have had over the past 6 months was my network. I had three key people in my network. First, my old friend contacted several people on my behalf. Second, the teacher in the department had met me for just a twenty minute informational interview and she liked me. Finally, the district level administrator felt positive about me. I was told by one of the teachers in the department, if that administrator did not want me here I would not be here. So apparently, the decision was made before the interview and the hiring principal just had to give his assent. For him to not hire me, he would have to fight an uphill battle against three people.