In this blog post I tell you the story of one of my personal coaching clients who got a job interview in Switzerland through a referral from an old school friend (She actually got 4 interviews with 4 companies but this is only one story).
The Old School Friend & Facebook
A few months ago, I worked with a coaching client from Austria on her job search in Switzerland. One of the first things we did was create the list of 90 people. This list is basically an extensive listing of all the people who trust you. These can be friends, family, relatives, co-workers, ex-bosses, your hairdresser, every person that you know well enough to call him or her a good friend. The major criteria here is that the people trust you.
After we did that, my client received a friend request from somebody on Facebook. As she looked closer at who he was, she recognized his face as somebody she went to school with years ago. She had not talked to him for more than 10 years. However, what she was confused about was the friend request on Facebook since she thought they were connected there before.
My coaching client sent her old school friend a short message to say thank you for the invitation and that she thought they were connected already. He replied with telling her that he was cleaning up his contacts and accidentally deleted her while doing so.
This lead to a few more messages and eventually she asked him what he is up to now since they have not talked to each other for ages.
The Job Interview at Accenture
He told her that he was working at Accenture in Switzerland now. When she heard that company name, she recalled an article she read a few weeks ago about new innovations in the Corporate Social Responsibility department (her expertise) at Accenture.
My client asked her school friend about these changes in the CSR department and if he knew anyone there. He said that he knew the hiring manager of that department and that he could forward her details to him. Gratefully, she agreed.
After receiving my client’s details, the hiring manager at the CSR department then forwarded it to one of his employees for him to “check if she is a match for their organization’s culture”.
My coaching client then received an invitation for a phone call that ended up being an informal interview with the employee at the CSR department.
The interview went very well and she was invited into the official hiring process, coming from an employee referral, which is actually one of the most powerful referrals you can get.
The Importance of Your Existing Network
As this story illustrates, never neglect your network. Re-establish old relationships, re-connect with people you have not talked to recently or in ages. You never know where they are working now, what they are up to, who they know or what information they have.
My coaching clients and even myself are always astonished how many opportunities are uncovered while re-establishing old connections and friendships.
Before you start messaging people on LinkedIn you don’t know, go though the list of your old friends and colleagues and re-connect with them.
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