Why You Need a Networking Letter (Maybe Even More Than a Cover Letter)

By Karen Friesen, JobJenny.com

We know that you know how important networking is to landing a new job. It’s got to be among the oldest (and most important) tricks in the “how to get yourself hired” handbook.

Since you're a diligent, proactive person (of course you are), you’ve likely racked up 587 Facebook friends, 829 LinkedIn connections and cultivated an extended network of friends, professional contacts, and family members who think you. are. the. bomb.

When it's time to make a job change or career pivot, these people could be downright instrumental in helping you, right? If you play it right,  absolutely.

After all, the people in your posse already know how fantastic you are at…all kinds of stuff. Maybe you bake like Betty Crocker. You kick the pants out of every karaoke competition, or you’re the one everybody calls when they need a shoulder to cry on or a ride for Johnny after lacrosse.

That’s all great (obviously), but the pivotal question is, do they know what makes you kill it at your job? More to the point:

Do your people have any idea what you REALLY do at work all day?

Unless you're something like a nurse, fire fighter, writer or professional violinist, the answer to that question is a resounding ‘probably not.’ So, when you to enlist help from these people who will forever have your back, guess what they're going to say? 

“Sure, yeah, I’ll keep an eye out…”

And they probably mean it with every ounce of their being. However ... and here's the challenge ...

Do they have any idea what they’re keeping an eye out for? Truth is, the majority of people you know likely have no clue specifically how they can best help you.

There IS a solution to this quandary, and it’s one that job seekers often fail to consider (or have possibly never heard of).

The Networking Letter

The networking letter lands squarely among the top three pieces of correspondence (in addition to the cover letter and thank you note) that can make a huge difference in how your job search fares.

There are plenty of ways to tackle writing a networking letter, but the goal remains the same: you want to get word of your job search out to the people who know you best, and give them clear information about what you're looking for, and how (specifically) they can help.

Here's one approach to crafting a high-impact networking letter:

1. Kick it off with a friendly introduction.
Explain the transition you’re embarking on, and request help. Your intro might look something like this:

Dear Friends, Just a quick note to say “hi” and give you an update on what I’ve been up to. After 15 years of managing the IT Department at Orbit Consulting, I’ve decided to switch things up and pursue my long-term goal to work in large-scale technical project management.

2.  Share a brief list of skills you’d like to put to use in your next job.
For example, you could say, “I’d really like a job in which I can use my digital marketing strategy and large team project management skills.” Or perhaps you could say, “I’m well suited for roles that involve building and motivating sales teams.”

3. Offer up a short list of potential job titles / companies of interest.
Here’s your chance to really help your network know what to be on the lookout for, because the type of job you seek could very well be called different things at different companies.

“Here are some of the job titles that would likely align with what I’m envisioning…”

You may even throw out the names of some companies that are of particular interest.

“A few companies I’m specifically targeting include Gerber Knives, Yakima and SawStop.”

And then wrap up your networking letter by asking the recipient to let you know if he or she knows anyone that may be helpful or influential in your search. (And, perhaps, could they introduce you?)

An effective networking letter’s power lies in the fact it goes beyond asking people to “keep an eye out." It specifically spells out what it is they’re keeping an eye out for, and what they can do if they know of something that may be a fit for you, or someone you should meet.

Even better, the networking letter doesn't always have to be distributed as a letter. It could be an email, or maybe you have it in front of you over cocktails or during a coffee meeting, to help guide the discussion.

Remember ...

The people around you – especially the ones you know will always have your back – will absolutely be willing to bend over backwards to help you, IF they know exactly how they can be useful to your effort.

So offer up a big “thank you” in advance, and always be ready and willing to return the favor. It’s dishing up those kinds of positive vibes that – more than anything – make you somebody people want to stand up for.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Matt)

Just Re-launched! $15 off our Resume, LinkedIn & Career Pivot Kits

We finally got 'er done.

Our three top-selling Ridiculously Awesome Kits have officially been refreshed, revamped, restyled and revitalized. They're live over in the Shop on JobJenny.com and ready for action.

In each I-promise-you-they're-quick-and-entertaining-to-read kit, here's what you'll find:

Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit

Our best-selling title, this one walks you step-by-step through the same process our team uses when crafting professional resumes on behalf of our clients. It also offers up tips and tactics so that you understand how your resume will be reviewed (by both computer software and real humans), and how you can strategize accordingly.

The Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit includes answers to the questions we hear most often about resumes, and sample resumes for your review. 

Ridiculously Awesome LinkedIn Kit

The Ridiculously Awesome LinkedIn Kit is for all of you who are, maybe, "on" LinkedIn but not using it to your best advantage for job search or career networking. We'll guide you through the process of setting up or optimizing your LinkedIn profile so that it's pulling its weight for you, and we'll provide suggestions on how to leverage LinkedIn as a vital part of your job search or career transition (and beyond).

Ridiculously Awesome Career Pivot Kit

If you're considering shifting your career into something different, but maybe a bit confused or overwhelmed over how to think things through and get started, the Ridiculously Awesome Career Pivot Kit is a good place to start. This kit will help you evaluate (or solidify) your idea, sort outwhat it's going to take to get from today to that new job or career, and then pull together a road map that'll take you there. (Because most often, it's not about "Do I have what it takes?" when it comes to career pivots. It's much more about "Do I have a road map to follow as I work toward this?")

Bundled Deals

We also now offer two bundled deals for those who may want more than one of the titles above. Save yourself up to $58 with The Combo Platter (Resume Kit + LI Kit) or our just-launched Full Sweep (all three ebooks in one blob of goodness).

Interested in saving even more $ on our updated kits? Take $15 off any single title or bundled deal by using promo code RELAUNCH at checkout.

Deal is on through Sunday, Nov. 5 (11:59 pm PST)

Ready to Stop Being an MHAB? (Marginally Happy at Best)

Years ago, as a young adult, I looked around and noticed something about many of the "real adults" I worked with.

No one seemed particularly happy. 

It wasn't that they were having a bad day, per se. It was more like they had this sort of grey-ish cloud looming overhead pretty much every day. They may not have been downright miserable (some I'm guessing were), but they just didn't seen to be enjoying their work -- or their lives --  much at all. 

I coined a term for these people, and I've been using it ever since:

MHAB -- Marginally Happy at Best

An MHAB is someone who is trudging through life as if it's a chore (because, it is). 

An MHAB is feeling stuck, but maybe doesn't know how to make things better, or what to even focus on next.

Some MHABs have even decided there's probably not a lot of hope, or time, or possibility to make their careers, their situations, their paychecks, their lives much better ... and so they do nothing. 

There are lots and lots of MHABs out there. I see them every day. I work with some of them (and help them find a path out of their MHAB-ness.)

Are you an MHAB?

Are you spending every day with that dull toothache of discontent, but maybe feeling super scared to pull the tooth -- because you don't know how much it'll cost, or how much it'll hurt, or how much disruption it will cause to your life, or if it'll be better once you give it a yank?

I was an MHAB. I coined the term and, at age 33, I assigned it to myself. 

After longer-than-I-care-to-admit, I yanked the tooth and dramatically shifted my career into what, today, is JobJenny.com.

It was challenging. It was scary. I questioned my sanity from time to time.

But then guess what? Things started to gain momentum. Things started to work. The "wound" of the toothache healed. Today? I wonder how I ever even lived with the toothache for so long in the first place.

Are you ready to get rid of the toothache?

If you're ready to get rid of the constant, dull pain of discontent and find a career that will be more meaningful, more challenging, more lucrative or more fulfilling, consider enlisting the help of 16 of the industry's best career change leaders as you contemplate and plot your your own career pivot.

Last 5 Days for PivotPlus

We're nearing the end of Pivot Assembly. If you were among the 3,000+ people who joined us for the live event last week (thank you!) you probably caught a few of the how-to video sessions with people like Pamela Slim, Scott Barlow, Miriam Salpeter, Paul Angone, Ash Ambirge and, yes, me. 

For those who want unlimited access to all 16 of these "how to pivot" video conversations (geared toward both "traditional" and more entrepreneurial types) PLUS a book, course or other career change resource from every one of our expert contributors ($2,698 worth!), consider investing in PivotPlus.

Until 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, Sept. 25, you can snag PivotPlus for just $179 (which is 93% off the price you'd pay if you bought each item separately).

After that, the program closes forever. 

Note that our Weekend Resume Makeover Course (reg. $229) is part of PivotPlus.

So, instead of paying $229 for just that one resource, you can get step-by-step resume guidance PLUS 15 additional career pivot tools for $179. 

Here are the video (& audio) conversations that are included:

  • Paul Angone: getting unstuck at work
  • Scott Barlow: building out your pivot strategy
  • Jenny Blake: successfully pivoting to a new industry
  • Laura Simms: why you shouldn’t follow your passion – and what to do instead
  • Jenny Foss: making yourself “make sense” on paper (when shifting your career)
  • Crystal Marsh: making a pivot as a Millennial
  • Miriam Salpeter: using social media to propel your career forward
  • SheNegotiates: negotiating your best deal
  • Pamela Slim: finding the thread that ties your work together
  • Tara Gentile: launching an idea-driven business
  • Emilie Wapnick: career tips for multi-passionate people
  • Michelle Ward: what to expect as a new entrepreneur
  • Danielle Spurge: the best way to start a handmade business
  • Jennifer Lee: business plans for creatives
  • April Bowles-Olin: non-sleazy marketing
  • Ash Ambirge: packaging your big idea / nailing the messaging

And here's a list of the additional tools inside of PivotPlus:

  • Jenny Foss: The Weekend Resume Makeover Course ($229 value)
  • Scott Barlow: Figure Out What Fits Course ($397 value)
  • Paul Angone:  Signature Sauce Course + Community Membership ($149 value)
  • She Negotiates: Career Oxygen: How to Breathe Life Into Your Career Story and Land the Job/Promotion ($495 value)
  • Crystal Marsh: 3 Steps to Entrepreneurial Success for Millennials (Exclusive! $197 value)
  • Emilie Wapnick: How to Be Everything: Bonus Interviews (Exclusive! $57 value)
  • Ash Ambirge: Unf*ckwithable Words (300+ expert written business scripts) ($97 value)
  • Laura Simms: The Purpose Paradigm ($15 value)
  • Jenny Blake: Delegation Ninja Course ($297 value)
  • April Bowles-Olin: Marketing for Creatives and Plan Your Content Calendar for the Next Year ($46 value)
  • Tara Gentile: The New Economy & Your Money Virtual Conference (Exclusive! $97 value)
  • Jennifer Lee: The Right-Brain Business Plan Home Study ($147 value)
  • Miriam Salpeter: Social Media Help Desk ($249 value)
  • Pam Slim: Giant Client Magnet ($99 value)
  • Danielle Spurge: How to Get Featured on Etsy: A Strategy + Awareness Guide for Sellers ($30 value)
  • Michelle Ward: Unveiling Your Business Uniquity – & Making It The Foundation of Your Brand Live Webinar (Exclusive! $97 value)

If you're thinking that it's time to live bigger, live more challenged, live without the gosh-darned toothache going on every day of your flippin' life, consider investing $179 in yourself.

Your opportunity to learn from (and be inspired by) 16 of the most respected career change (and business building) leaders out there (at a 93% savings) is here until 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, 9/25. 
 

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Centro Guel

5 Unbeatable Tools for Career Pivoters

In keeping with our "all things career pivot" theme of the week here (you're signed up for Pivot Assembly, right? Tomorrow is the last day for the free sessions), I thought I'd share a few of my absolute favorite resources for people embarking on a career transition (large or small). 

These are tools that I point people to again and again as part of my coaching practice. Every one of them is great for all types of career paths and professionals, but these resources are particularly incredible for those among you mulling over a career pivot. 

My Favorite Career Pivot Resources:

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.

You need to read this if you’re wondering if the magic answer is to simply follow your passion (a la, do what you love so the money will follow). Cal Newport, the author of this absolute gem of a career book, is a computer scientist out of Georgetown University. He studied the statistical correlation between those who follow their passion career-wise and those who cite long-term career satisfaction.

Guess what? He discovered that there’s often an inverse relationship between those who select their next career role based on passion alone and those who proclaim that they feel satisfied in their careers (crazy, I know!) The book explores an alternate method for ensuring that you choose career moves that will, ultimately, bring about happiness and fulfillment. (This is also a great resource for people considering shifting into entrepreneurship!)

How to Interview Better than 99% of People in the World.

If you want to understand the game that’s being played in interviews across the country (lord, don't we all?) -- and use this knowledge to land an amazing new job (and maybe even a raise!) -- then you’ve got to meet Ramit Sethi. He’s a New York Times Best-selling author, who has been offered jobs at Google, Intuit, AND a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund.

Ramit later went on to help thousands of other people find their dream jobs, beating out people with 10+ years experience and nailing interview after interview. In this video, Ramit outlines what it takes to walk away from an interview with a job offer — instead of scratching your head wondering what went wrong -- and how to interview better than 99% of people in the world. (Note that this is an affiliate link: If you choose to purchase Ramit's products, we make a little bit of money for the referral. Also note -- We only point people to others that we absolutely love.)

VentureLoop.com.

I probably recommend this job board to three or more people every week. VentureLoop is a job board that specifically features open positions within venture-backed startups. Often, the jobs you’ll see advertised here aren’t advertised anywhere else (think: less competition!)

The reason I love this job board for career pivoters is because, often, those in transition are looking for something more challenging, more inspiring, more fast-paced or an opportunity to make a more immediate impact. Startups may provide just that opportunity. VentureLoop is a wonderful, lesser known job board to keep on your radar as you work to transition your career.

TheMuse.com.

I can’t speak highly enough about this absolute treasure chest of a resource for professionals at every stage, including those making a career pivot. I’m slightly biased, yes, because I’ve had the honor of serving as a columnist for The Muse for the past few years. Through that time, I’ve had a front-row seat in watching a scrappy startup turn into the gold standard, go-to resource in the career community. You’ll find endless career transition how-to articles on The Muse, a killer job board and a wide range of coaching services.

 

And, if you're looking for even more career pivot how-to tools, resources and inspiration...

... get right over to Pivot Assembly and check out PivotPlus Here's your chance to grab $2,698 in courses, books and workshops provided by some of the best in the business for $179.

That's 93% off the price you'd pay if you purchased these resources independently.

The bundle also contains 16 expert video (and audio) conversations from some of today's top career change experts, including Jenny Blake, Pam Slim, Paul Angone, Scott Barlow, the team from SheNegotiates.com and many more.

Note: Our Weekend Resume Makeover course is included in the offer. This sells one its own for $229. So, for $179, you get that AND unlimited access to all of the Pivot Assembly conversations AND all of the additional tools and resources. 

Deal is on until 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 25, and then we close it forever. 

If you're ready for something different, something better, something more fulfilling? Come join us.
 

STARTS TODAY! Pivot Assembly -- Find Your Dream Job (or Business)!

We are LIVE! For those who have been following along on the blog or our other social media channels for the past few days, you've probably seen us talking about Pivot Assembly: Evolve Your Career with Confidence. 

For months, I've been quietly co-producing this virtual event, which aims to help anyone and everyone wanting a better, less soul-sucking, more fulfilling career to gather up the gumption, get organized and generate momentum toward that NEXT BIG THING.

The (free) 3-day event went live this morning. (Cue the confetti! Bring in the party horns!)

Are you considering, planning or already in motion with a career pivot? If so, come join us!

What is Pivot Assembly?

Pivot Assembly is a free online career conference featuring 16 of some of the best known career change experts around. Co-producer Michelle Ward (the When I Grow Up Coach) and I interviewed all of these incredible people, and discussed all kinds of topics related to shifting a corporate career, or starting your own business. 

A few of the topics include:

  • How to Get Unstuck
  • How to Craft a Pivot Strategy
  • How to Align Your Messaging with Your Goals
  • How to Negotiate Your Best Deal
  • What to Expect as a New Entrepreneur
  • How to Pivot Your Career as a Millennial
  • And a whole bunch more...!

When is it?

We launched this morning at 12:01 AM ET and we'll be rolling until 11:59 PM ET on Friday, Sept. 15. 

Each day, we'll feature 5-6 free video interviews (also available as audio files if you're more a podcast person), and they're available all day. Once the day is done, we pull down the batch, and insert the next day's batch. You can watch as many as you want all day long, today through Wednesday.

Who is it For?

Anyone considering something different, really. We've got discussions related to making traditional career shifts, as well as several geared toward people working to launch or build an entrepreneurship. All of the sessions are free. 

If you're someone who knows you want more in your career, Pivot Assembly is for you.

Who Are the Speakers?

In addition to Michelle and me, here's who we have in the mix:

  • Paul Angone, All Groan Up
  • Jenny Blake, Author of Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One
  • Jennifer Lee, Artizen Coaching
  • Scott Barlow, Happen to Your Career
  • Jamie Lee / Lisa Gates, SheNegotiates
  • Pamela Slim, Author of Body of Work and Escape from Cubicle Nation
  • Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers
  • Ash Ambirge, The Middle Finger Project
  • Emilie Wapnick, Puttylike
  • Laura Sims, With Laura Sims
  • Crystal Marsh, Crystal Marsh Consulting
  • Danielle Spurge, The Merriweather Council
  • Tara Gentile, CoCommercial
  • April Bowles-Olin, Blacksburg Belle

Do I have to Watch the Sessions at a Specific Time?

No, and yes. (How's that for an answer?)

No, the sessions are not running at a set time on any particular day. The interviews that are live each day (5-6 every day, starting today) are viewable all day long, up until 11:59 p.m. ET.

Yes, in that you will need to watch the sessions that interest you today before 11:59 p.m. ET tonight. 

We will pull today's batch down at 11:59 p.m. ET, and post a fresh batch for tomorrow (and another fresh batch on Friday). 

How Do I Access the Interviews?

That's the easiest one of all. If you're interest in joining us for any or all of the FREE Pivot Assembly sessions, dive right in here:

How Do I Keep the Momentum?

If you want to keep watching the video sessions indefinitely AND snag 16 additional career pivot resources (things like e-courses, books and online workshops) thrown in by the experts for only $97, be sure and check out PivotPlus. If you were to purchase these resources individually, they'd cost a total of $2,698. Today-Friday, they are available for $97.

That's a 96% savings. 

Our Weekend Resume Makeover course, which sells for $229 here on the site, is among the products offered, so you'll save nearly 60% on that one product alone by jumping in to PivotPlus.

On Sept 16th, the price bump to $179 (still a screaming deal!) and on the 25th, it will be gone forever.

If you're ready for something better, more challenging, less soul-sucking, more lucrative, why not make today the day you kick off the journey? Let's do it.