- Don’t expect someone else to do your homework for you. If there are industries, and/or companies and people in which you have interest, identify contacts who are familiar with these and approach them for advice on ideas which you have formulated.
- Be specific and limit your requests for each contact. Provide the names or titles of a couple of people who you would like to meet, specific to your contact’s network. Your friends want to help, but you have to tell them how; e.g. “I know you are a member of YPO. Can you introduce me to two of your favorite co-members?”
- Develop a short version of what you want your contact to say about you and your objectives. “I am looking for CFO role in mid-size company, or controller/division controller in a large company. Manufacturing preferable over distribution, and I can relocate.”
- Avoid extended explanations about why you are looking. Your friends and contacts are not interviewers, nor career counselors, and less is more. They just want to help, as long as they don’t have to work very hard at it.
- As a follow-up and non-intrusive reminder, email your resume which can be easily forwarded to any suggested leads.
- Finally, if you have a meeting with a referral, let your friend/contact share in your success and provide the results of the meeting. Common sense, but many people forget.
So, do your homework, be specific, and only expect your friends and associates to do what they can do quickly and without extended effort.