The purpose of this exercise is to develop as many names as possible from memory. At this point, don’t worry about whether or not that person can help you with your job search. Just focus on recalling as many names as possible for your list. You will determine later whether or not you will contact them based on your job search plan. As you think of a name just place it in your Contact Tracking Log.
Plan to spend a minimum of three to four hours working on the development of your contact list. You may want to do this in different sessions so as to not burn out. You should set a goal of getting at least 250 names. However, don’t stop once you reach 250…keep going until you are completely tapped out. You never know, it could be that last name on your list that results in your next job!
The following are different exercises to get your mind thinking about different people that should be on your list. Do not limit yourself to just these activities, but this is a good place to start.
Use the “Follow Your Dollar” strategy to develop as many names as you can. Think about where your money goes. Begin with your checkbook and go forward from there. Review the last six months of bank statements and credit card statements. Take a look at Quicken or other programs you use to track your dollars.
Use this exercise to remind you of people that you were around when you made the purchases.
Example: You identify a charge at a local restaurant and it jogs your memory of two contacts you met with about your previous work. These could be great contacts for your job search.
- Who is your doctor?
- Who is your insurance agent?
- Who does your taxes?
- Who sold your last house?
- Who repairs your car?
- Include people who have paid you money
Look over the past year or two at the work or personal appointments you have had. Review your Outlook calendar or hard copy calendar such as a DayTimer or Franklin Planner. Use this exercise to remember events and the people that attended or were associated with the event.
- Look closely at your old work calendar
- Neighborhood social events
- Meetings for major projects
- Meetings with vendors, suppliers, etc.
- Non-profit service work
- Sporting, coaching and civic events
- Meetings at your church
- Homeowner’s association meetings
The Rolodex of Life
Let’s do a mix of old school and new school to identify more contacts for your list. Most people have a rolodex or pile of business cards that have been collected over the years. Now is the time to get these cards and be reminded of the people you have met. Once you’ve done that, go to your cell phone and look through your names. Every name in your cell phone should be on your list.
- Go through an old address book
- Review all of the emails you have sent and received over the past two years, if you have multiple email address…be sure to check them all
- Utilize social networking sites to see who is already in your network of friends and business contacts (Facebook and LinkedIn may be your primary websites)
Stages of Life
Think about the different phases of your life and different milestones that have occurred and the people that may have been associated with that event. Don’t rush through the list, spend time with each word evaluate the situation/circumstance trying to identify the people involved.
High School friends
Categories of People
- People who care about you – List people who really care about your success and future. If they care about you, they will try to help.
- People you care about – Who do you care about and want to see have a great life?
- People who share your ideals, interests or hobbies – Who do you know through clubs, church or associations? Since they already know you, they are likely to help your search and provide personal recommendations.
- Business owners you know – Business owners, especially small business owners often help you meet your goals. Visit them and don’t forget the goldmine on their desk, their Roledex.
In case you’ve left anyone out, think of additional contacts you may know as you look at each of these memory joggers.
Actors, producers, directors
Advertising. marketing, PR
Aircraft pilots-flight engineers
Archivists, curators, museum
Art & Design
Banker, bank teller
Barista (might be a retired CEO)
Bible study members
Boss, current and past
Broadcast sound engineering
Cardiovascular MD or tech
Cargo & freight agents
CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
Chairman of the Board
Chairman School Board
Chief of Police
Computer IT managers
Computer systems analysts
Dancers and choreographers
Dietitians and nutritionists
Education, training, library
Emergency med tech (EMT)
Financial adviser, planner
Fire fighting occupations
Has a great job
Human resource occupations
Insurance sales agents
Interpreters and translators
Law enforcement agent
Medical and health services
Meeting & convention planners
Mentored you/ by you
Met on a plane
News analysts, reporters
Personal and home care aides
Physician assistant Physicians
Plays a musical instrument
President of something
Property association Managers
Real estate brokers/agent
Real estate developer/investor
Recently changed jobs
Relatives – make a list
Sales and related occupations
Secretary, administrative assistant
Writers and editors
While in your job search, you should always be thinking in terms of building relationships. Referrals can and will be a key part of your job search process. There are two types of people you will come across in your job search: the people you know and the people you don’t know. You spent the time on this Memory Jogger exercise to build your contacts of those individuals you know. Let these people know about your situation and ask for referrals and consideration as they hear about opportunities in the marketplace.
Ideas to Build Your List – Finding people you don’t know…yet
Try these ideas to develop more contacts.
- Attend trade shows
- Take additional classes
- Attend parties and functions
- Attend a community meeting (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions Club)
- Go to professional networking groups