- It's possible to network and job search during a recession.
- The LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann shared a script for emailing friends and professional colleagues about new job opportunities.
- In a networking email, you should show compassion but also be specific about how the recipient can help you.
- Other experts say asking for advice can make your contact think more highly of you.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The coronavirus pandemic and global recession has left many people out of a job – and looking for a new one.
Over 10.1 million Americans are unemployed, which is about double the number of jobless people in February. And while the unemployment rate decreased to 6.7% in November, many businesses are still continuing to suffer as a result of the pandemic. Some are continuing to cut down on staff while others are shutting down altogether.
So if you find yourself between jobs, you're not alone.
Approaching someone in your network and asking if their company is hiring right now can seem a little presumptuous. That's why many job seekers are hesitant to start reaching out, said Blair Heitmann, an in-house career expert at LinkedIn.
But your network "is your No. 1 asset as a professional over the course of your career," Heitmann said. In fact, some companies don't post senior-level positions on job boards, and the only way to find them is to network your way into a recruiter's database.
Networking can be especially useful right now as a way to explore new career opportunities if your company — or your entire industry — is on shaky footing. And while some people may be overwhelmed, Heitmann thinks others may be delighted to arrange a phone call now that they're socially isolated.
Before you begin reaching out to others, though, it's important to make sure that your own LinkedIn profile is ready to impress, complete with a customized URL, photo, headline, and profile summary.
Heitmann shared a simple template for networking effectively, even in a tough economy and during a pandemic. Most importantly, you'll want to acknowledge the crisis situation and be forthright about how they can help you.
The most effective networking message in a recession shows compassion but gets to the point
Here's Heitmann's script:
Dear [recipient's name],
First and foremost, I want to ask how you are doing. This is certainly an unprecedented time and I hope you are healthy and safe.
I am currently using this time to think about my next career move and reconnect with people in my network. If you happen to have a few minutes over the next few weeks, would you be willing to chat? I'd love to catch up and also hear about your experience working at [recipient's company] in [recipient's job title] role. I know it is a very busy and unusual time for many of us. I'm happy to connect whenever it is most convenient for you.
I look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe and keep in touch.
Be specific in your outreach about how the recipients can help you
Heitmann's script for networking emails is similar to templates that other experts have shared.
In their 2017 book "The New Rules of Work," the cofounders of The Muse, a job-search and career-advice platform, recommend sending a single email to friends and professional colleagues to kick-start your job search. The idea is to be as specific as possible about what you're looking for and how the message recipients can help you.
The email should read, in part:
I am looking for [the type of position you're looking for], with a focus on [your focus], in [your location], ideally in the [specific field]. I am particularly interested in [the type of work you're interested in doing], but would also consider [another type of work you find interesting].
If you know of any job opportunities or leads, please send them my way.
Kim Hoffman, a talent-acquisition director at Intuit, previously shared with Business Insider some guidelines for following up with recruiters about job offers right now. Hoffman said job candidates should ask the recruiter if they're staying safe, mention that they understand the recruiter's timelines may have shifted, and explain they're checking in to see if there's anything else the recruiter needs from them.
Also, remember: People like being asked for advice. Research suggests that it makes them feel like they're on your side and makes you seem smart. Stephanie Brown, the author of "Fired: Why Losing Your Job Is The Best Thing That Can Happen To You," wrote for Business Insider that she was able to land a series of networking meetings by including the same sentence in every message: "I would love your advice on what you think I should do next."
It never hurts to ask for guidance — and usually, it helps.
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