Q: I’m looking for ideas on how to reach out to people by networking. Most of my applications seem to hit people’s circular file…
A: Applying to openings is only one (small) part of the job search. If you’re getting a few replies, that’s actually good. As for networking ideas, reaching out to contacts by email and to LinkedIn connections won’t be dead ends if you ask each person for a name or two of a colleague or counterpart in your practice area so that you can follow up to ferret out opportunity or seek additional suggestions of other lawyers to touch base with as you look for your next role.
Follow up off line by phone if you get no responses; tell people you know they’re busy but you didn’t want to miss the chance to speak with them briefly in the networking process. Then help them help you by asking who they might contact were they you. They may say they don’t know anyone who is looking, so reassure them agreeably that you know it’s your job to do the legwork to find that out, and that someone they’ve worked with in the past, see at bar meetings, have spoken on a panel with or would invite onto a panel if they were putting one together on hot topics in your practice area.
Be sure to reinforce (with those you don’t know) that you’ll let people know you haven’t worked together, that you reached out via networking and they were good enough to point you forward.