In a previous post, I wrote about finding mentors who can work with you to discover the perfect job. Next, find people online who can help you reach the next step. Who, what and where questions help you do this.
We’ve all heard the expression “it’s who you know” that helps you find a job or get things done. That’s partially true. But it’s really people who can help you that opens doors. And you probably don’t yet know who can help you. You need to ask first.
Find People Online: Secrets of Great Questioners
So how is this done? Start your questions with who, what and where, a very effective strategy. Here are a few examples:
“Suzie, who do you know who works in the computer software industry?” “Craig, who do you know who’s an expert in auto repair?” or “Gloria, who do you know who lives in Nebraska?” Notice that the questions are focused on finding people rather than asking about jobs or companies. (ex. “Mike, know of any accounting job opens in Detroit?”) While you won’t always receive answers that help you, a “who” question quickly elicits useful information about companies, people and industries.
If people tell you “I don’t know,” then ask “what” questions. Using the examples above, for example, you could ask “Suzie, what are the names of a few software companies in the area?” “Craig, what local auto repair companies come to mind?” “Gloria, what sources should I use to find people and companies in Nebraska?” Notice that you’ve broadened your questions. Even though you’re asking “what” rather than “who,” you may still get useful information that later will help you find people.
But let’s say that Suzie, Craig and Gloria still say “I don’t know.” Don’t give up. Continue your find people online strategy.
Ask “where” questions. “O.K., Suzie, I understand. Where would you go to get information about software companies locally?” “Craig, where would I find a good list of auto repair companies?” “Gloria, if you were searching for people and companies in Nebraska,” where would you look?”
Believe me, these are not dumb questions. While some people might refer you to the yellow pages, if you keep asking, you’ll probably start getting names of people who know the answers to your questions. “Oh, you should talk with Cary, my friend. She used to work in Omaha.” Or “I know the manager at the local Goodyear store. Here’s his name and phone number.”
So use the power of asking who, what and where and you’ll find people online. You’ll quickly build a list of people who can help you in your career search.
(Refer to the Resource tab, especially the social media page, to increase the people you know. Also make sure you have a contact management system in place to capture names, phone numbers and other information.)
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