do I contact old work friends I haven't spoken to in years to find
out about present job opportunities?
used to work in an industry that I am interested in getting back
into, but I am out of touch with what is going on now. I want to
call a few business associates who were friends of mine in the past,
but I haven't seen or spoken to any of them in years. In all honesty,
although it would be fine to hear about what is going on with their
lives, I just want to know if they know about potential job opportunities.
made my own rules since childhood, when I declared that classmates
who wished to be part of my entourage should tie their blankies
decoratively about their shoulders. I knew it would lead to scarf
confidence in adulthood. Now, many of my well-dressed former playfellows
have their own People, who keep in touch with my People constantly
through witty post cards.
first rule when embarking on a new production is to call friends
in the field to ask for their support. One screenplay, business
plan, or invention later, and we're normally at an awards ceremony
accepting sharp-edged statuettes and giving tearful tributes to
each other. My stylist always matches my dog Dickie's accessories
to mine for the occasion.
your friends. That's what they're for. Telephone your associates,
as many as you need to call. You've got a legitimate reason: you've
moved to another industry, and now you want to go back, perhaps
to places where your old friends are. If you didn't know these people,
would that stop you from trying to do business with them?
know what you're asking: What's my character? What's my motivation?
you cast yourself, be honest and sincere. If you play Spin the "Role"-odex
to see where you land, your plan will be no more secret than a B-list
actor's sexuality. If they haven't heard from you in years, they
don't have to be a Palm reader to know you're calling for a reason.
Networking takes time.
prepare, as you would for an audition. Bring to mind the names of
your friends' children, along with some shared memories, so you
can Be the Long Lost Friend. Practice the engagingly brief
yet touching "Where I Am Now" monolog in front of the
mirror to make sure you stay in character. Your mouth may be saying
"I've been doing consulting," but don't let your downcast eyes say,
"I wish I hadn't been laid off."
after gargling with salt water and doing a few vocalises, make your
call. If you get a Live Person, ask your colleague if it's a good
time to talk. Allow some space to catch up, to build the dramatic
tension. Your truest friends will be delighted to hear from you,
so be upbeat and in a mood to chat. Share any good dirt on mutual
state your business: you're hoping to make a change, you recalled
your previous collaboration, you're thinking of returning to the
field, could you get together for lunch, your treat. If you're deep
into the creative phase of your job hunt, say so. You'll be surprised
at how fabulous it makes people feel to do things for you.
you've made plans to meet, offer something in return - say, an autographed
professional head shot. There's no such thing as too many people
liking you. Besides, now they'll have something to remember you