If you have recently been to a family get-together, your relatives probably asked how your job search was doing. If you haven’t had much luck given the economy, you probably mumbled something like, “I have a few leads,” and then changed the subject.
The problem with that is that relatives, former professors and teachers as well as friends can be the source of great networking possibilities. Let’s take the seemingly least likely example, your grandfather who retired from working more than a decade ago in a field nowhere near yours.
Members of older generations prefer in person and telephone communication more than newly minted graduates. Even if your grandfather was a steelworker and you want to go into sales, you should still talk a fair bit about what your experiences have been and what you’re looking to do. Maybe your relative knows someone who works in sales or marketing, or had a particularly good experience at a store. You can rely on them to speak of you highly because you’re family, and it adds to the number of people who have heard about you.
The same is especially true of aunts, uncles and cousins who may work in related fields. They can often point you in the direction of jobs that may not have been publicly announced, or may not be open for resumes until a later date. You won’t know about them if you don’t take the time to mention how your career is going and what you’re looking to do.
Older family members can also provide perspective on jobs that you don’t have because of changes in career strategies. More likely to have stayed within one company or just a couple over a forty year career, they can highlight the stability in larger firms. They may also know people at the upper echelons of nearby firms who haven’t retired, giving you a foot in the door and a blessing from a C-level executive.
One young associate of mine wanted to work in law enforcement, but was unable to make his way in the difficult hiring process without some help. His aunt, however, worked in a local pharmacy and saw a variety of police officers on a daily basis. After telling her of his goals, he soon found that he had business cards from sergeants, lieutenants and even the head of a local police academy. Each had heard about his background from his aunt, and wanted to speak with him about job opportunities. He even received an offer to attend a local academy.
You may not realize it, but in between bites of at Thanksgiving, you can make time to make your job hunt a little bit easier by talking with your family. Many are probably interested in seeing how you’re progressing, and you might get lucky with a contact or two, as well.
by John Sylo