Network With People Who “Owe” You
You’ve been told over and over again that networking is the best way to find work.
And, yet, if you’re reading this, networking hasn’t produced a new job for you, has it?
If networking did work, you’d be working, too!
So, why not do something a little different in your networking?
Here’s a new, “guerrilla” twist you can try today: Call and ask for employment leads
from one person you’ve bought something from before.
In other words, network with people who “owe” you.
Business people who owe you a favor are more likely to help in your job search. It just
makes economic sense. Because, how can you afford to hire them again if you’re
Here are examples of whom to call: your dentist, hairdresser, accountant, attorney, real
estate agent, or car dealer. Anyone and everyone you’ve spent money with in the past
year is fair game!
Can you pick one person whom you’ve patronized in the last year? Can you find their
phone number? Dial the phone? Speak English?
Then you have no excuse not to try this!
Here’s a script to get you started, with explanatory notes in parentheses below; practice
until you sounds natural on the phone:
1. “Hello, NAME. This is YOUR NAME. We did business together about XX weeks
ago when I bought X from you. I’m calling to make sure I still had the right
(Many folks hesitate to make networking calls because they don’t know how to start the
conversation. So, here’s your excuse -- say you’re calling to make sure you have the
correct phone number, which is true.
You’re not asking for an appointment or to buy anything more, but this message is
implicit in your opening. As a result, you will have their attention -- very important.)
2. “Say, could I ask you a quick favor? I’m in the job market now, looking for a
position as a JOB TITLE at a company like COMPANY #1, COMPANY #2, or
(You have to think first, about what job you want and at least three companies you want
to work for. While thinking is hard work, it beats not working at all. So start thinking!)
3. “I’m sure you meet a lot of people every week. Who would you call if you were in
(You’re asking a business person meets lots of other persons to think as if they were in
your shoes. This can produce rapid results. But … be ready to brainstorm on the phone to
help them recall at least one name of someone who might be able to help.)
4. “Could I have their name and number please? I’d be happy to send you some
business if you think that would be an even trade!”
(You are asking for help and offering help in the same breath. For most smart business
people, this is a fair deal. Just be sure you actually DO tell one friend to patronize this
business and mention your name later.
Now, write down the name and number you just got. Hang up. Call that new person and
drop your original contact’s name to start that new conversation.)
5. “Thank you! As soon as I land at one of my target companies, I’ll be calling you
to make an appointment. And if you can remember any more names, please give me
a call to let me know!”
That’s all there is to it -- a five-part phone script you can use today to turn your
professional contacts into employment leads.
Of course, you can and should call more than just one person who “owes” you. But we
want you to validate this tactic on a small scale and see how easy it is to generate
networking leads before you start making scads of phone calls.
Until next time, here’s to your success, Guerrilla!
David Perry and Kevin Donlin
Kevin Donlin is a professional résumé writer, co-author of the book "Guerrilla Resumes"
and a job-search columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. For more information, visit
www.gresumes.com/guerrilla. David Perry is a recruiter, author of the book "Guerrilla
Marketing for Job Hunters" and managing partner of Perry-Martel International. To learn
more, visit www.GM4JH.com.