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Networking (and not burning bridges)

 
author and jackaroo
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I know there was a thread in here recently about how to leave companies / how to write resignation letters. And one of the comments in that thread was that you don't want to burn bridges.
I left a company about 7 years ago because I had been head hunted, and the new company made me an offer that was too good to be refused, and that my then employer could not hope to match. When I left, I had a long chat with the manager to make sure that there were no hard feelings, and to explain what I was doing and why. I then just gave him a simple letter with something like "my last date here will be xx/yy/zzzz". Nothing more. So we left on good terms.
Recently I rang one of my good friends who still works there (basically to abuse her for not talking to me for 9 months), and the manager was in her office and when he found out that I was on the phone, took the phone off her and started asking what I was up to. When I told him that I was looking for work in a Java related field, he told me that he had just decided to convert his application from Visual Basic to Java, and needed someone he could trust to get the project moving.
And this brings us to the point of the subject line: many people do not really know how to network. Believe it or not, you can network through all sorts of sources: family, friends, co workers, ex co workers.
When I rang my friend, I had no thoughts of getting a job there: I thought it was a pure VB shop. But as a matter of course, I told everyone I talked to what I was doing and what I was looking for and now I have a job as a result of it. If I had not mentioned it, I would not now have a job.
One of the other groups of contacts that I regularly cultivate is other people looking for work. One of my previous jobs came about because a lady I knew applied for a position, but turned it down because it required travelling. But while turning it down, she mentioned my name and said that she thought I would be perfect for the position and that I was on the market.
I have found that the majority of my jobs have come about through contacts I already have. I have had a few jobs that were advertised in papers or through recruiters, but they were few and far between.
Hope these thoughts help some of you currently looking for work.
Regards, Andrew
 
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