Like any seasoned professional worth their weight in contacts, knowing who can help you when you need a job is vital to your long-term success no matter where you are in your career. Creating your client list is like new business development; you need to know where the opportunities are when you go to sell your best commodity, yourself.
You may not think of yourself as a business but you should. You are selling yourself each and every time you update your resume, pick up the phone, call in a favor, apply for a job or consider yourself for a promotion. Don’t underestimate the power of who you are in relation to whom you know. Developing your list of contacts and knowing how to skillfully and masterfully apply yourself to developing your relationships is key to being tapped for a job whether you are actively looking for one or not. Remember EVERYONE is your client so begin treating people as if anyone can be a resource in helping you along the way to finding your next job.
Here are a few ways you can start developing your client list:
1) Go through your Contacts & Linked In Account. Start going through your list of contacts and do some outreach. Whether you send an In Mail or Email begin by reaching out and touching base if you have not connected with a colleague or “client” in a long time. Go for coffee, offer to help THEM and find a way to connect without jumping down their throat for a job lead or offer. Genuinely open yourself up to reconnecting and see where the doors might open for you. Everyone you know is a potential lead.
2) Do Your Research Once you’ve cultivated your client list, start doing some research and look at companies who are hiring that match people you know from your client list. It doesn’t matter if your clients know about the job opportunity or not. You are doing your detective work and preparing yourself for your next important step.
3) Network Now that you’ve done your homework it’s time to cultivate and leverage your resources and reach out to your client list. Remember this is business development so you are developing your outreach as much as you are developing your target list of potential job leads. This is your most important step as it helps you to skillfully and diligently reach out to your network of contacts for help. Even if they are not directly involved with the hiring of a position you are interested in, knowing that you have reached out to your network and are starting to spread the word about your interests helps you build your client list and reach out to the people who matter.
4) Following Up One of the biggest mistakes most people make is that after one attempt of networking or outreach to a client, they stop cold. No response, no need to follow up. WRONG!!! Being persistent is the most important aspect of your ability to be thorough and focused. All the research and networking means nothing if you don’t have the means or the initiative to follow up and follow up again when needed. You can never follow up enough.
5) Building On Your Client List Your work does not stop with your initial list and networking. For everyone one meeting you get in person, for each email response you receive your goal is to walk away with a minimum of 3 to 5 NEW CLIENT CONTACTS and be prepared to follow up. Building your client list from your existing network is the key to not only continuing to leverage your network but to ultimately reach the opportunity that will lead to a new job or career move. Don’t stop short build your client list and watch your career network grow.
Creating your client list might sound easy but you will need to dedicate a lot of time, attention and patience to the task. Finding out who your friends are will ultimately lead you to discovering how many people out there actually have your best interest at heart and want to help you. Start by helping yourself and focus on building your client list.
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