Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Get Referrals from Warm Contacts

You may find it hard to use networking to find a job if you can't rely on your warm contacts to give you the information you need.  At times, you would have to ask your warm contacts to refer you to at least two people that they know who will be able to give you the information you needed.

However, there are times that your warm contact, particularly those who don't know you well, may not readily provide you with the information.  Some of your warm contacts may feel reluctant about vouching for you to their other contacts.

Because of this, you may find it difficult to use your network.  To make networking and getting referrals an easy task for you, here are a few tips.

* Nurture your warm contacts.

Before you even need your warm contacts or before you even ask for help, keep in touch with your warm contacts.  You may send notes or greetings from time to time, call to "catch up" on them, invite them to lunch, be interested or help in their business or do anything just to cultivate your connection with them.

In this way, by the time you need help, they can remember you and can more readily give information about their other contacts that will be able to help you.

* Be polite.

Since you might not have close personal relationships with some of your valuable warm contacts, it is inappropriate to just give them a call and ask them for information about your field of interest.

Sometimes, sending a note in advance, or asking to meet them for lunch is a better way to ask for their help.

* Listen to them.

Most of the time, even if your warm contact knows little in the field where you are trying to find a job, they might offer you advice.  Be polite and interested in what they are saying.  Who knows, the information that they are giving may be valuable to you in the future.

There are times that your warm contacts may be telling you tips on what manner will work best when you talk to the persons to whom you are being referred.  Your warm contacts may also imply what qualities and qualifications the person is looking for.

* Ask for at least two referrals.

Before you ask for referrals, make sure that your warm contact had said everything that he or she can say about your field of interest.

Even if they know little about that field, it is impolite if you cut them short while they are speaking to ask if they know somebody who will be able to help you.

If they weren't able to refer you to at least one of their contacts, thoughtfully ask them why they couldn't do so.  They may give you answers that may include indirect comments or suggestions.  They may also indicate a lack of confidence in your work strategy.  If this is so, you may have to make follow ups with them to prove that you are indeed credible and match their requirements.

However, there are also times when they can't refer you to their contacts because they just don't know anybody who might have the information or might be interested in the product. 

In this case, ask them to keep their eyes open for opportunities that you might be interested in.  You can also leave with them copies of your resume.

* Just ask for two referrals.


Two referrals are enough from each warm contact.  This is to have another option in case the first one didn't work out.  Asking for more than two referrals could be impolite as it can take much time from your warm contact.  Also, that will make your warm contact feel that you are relying mostly on him or her for your job search.  So, unless they volunteer the information, don't ask for more than 2 referrals.

* Contact referrals as soon as possible.

When your warm contacts give you referrals, there are times that they also call these people personally to give more information about you.  On the other hand, when you contact the people to whom you were referred, your referrals may call your warm contacts to verify the information or to ask more information about you.

Either way, you have to contact your referrals soon enough that these people can still remember their conversation with your warm contact, or your warm contact can still remember that you have talked.

At times, after your referrals were called by your warm contacts, they anticipate your call and even prepare questionnaires and exams for you to take.  Do not waste this opportunity by delaying follow-up on referrals.

Keeping these tips in mind will be able to help you in asking for good referrals from your warm contacts.

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