4 ways to find a job without a network

Finding a job when you have no network to rely on is hard. But notice that I only wrote it is hard. I didn’t write impossible. It can be done of course. It is actually quite simple. But notice I didn’t write easy. Just simple…

Having a network of friends, colleagues and those people you connected with at a conference years ago is a great asset when on the lookout for a new job. It is like expanding your eyes and ears from the two you have to hundreds or maybe even thousands. With a network, you know where there are openings before it hit the job portals. You might also get an interview just because you are known to be such an amazing person.

Reversely – when you put yourself in a situation where you don’t have any network – well you’d better suit up and get ready to tread a rocky road with a steep uphill inclination.

That Rocky Road

I know this because I have done it myself. Not only that – I am actually treading on that rocky road as we speak. This is the second time I am finding a job without a network neither privately nor professionally to support me. In this and the upcoming posts I will tell you about my fails and successes and share with you whatever lessons I learn on the way. Let me be the network you don’t have.

I will tell you about my experiences with jobinterviews, how to prepare a SWAT analysis of yourself, how to keep the momentum and much more…

Looking for a job can be like hiking a rocky road, upp hill in bare feet. Photo: John Salzarulo

So the first time I was in this situation was two years ago when we moved from the city to the outback. And the second time happened a couple of months ago when the company I worked with had to let go of half the staff.

It has been a long time since I was really looking for a job. Not to sound like an asshole but before I moved up here I didn’t have to. I lived in a big city. Finding a job was easy.


Google as a Roadmap

When we moved I found myself surrounded by thick forest and no network what so ever. I had no idea where to start. First of all there was no one to ask for advice. Secondly this is a part of Sweden people move away from. It surely felt like an uphill battle.

At first I scrolled through all the various jobsites. No luck. I called a number of different recruiters to get some help. Nada. I looked for companies anything remotely connected to biotech. Zip.

I don’t care if you don´t feel like it. Do it anyway. Photo: Scott Walsh

We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we are unwilling to succeed.

One evening my husband came up with this brilliant idea: Use Google Maps! We drew a circle with a radius of 50 km around our home. That was about the distance I wanted to commute daily. Then I looked at what small companies there were hidden inside my circle. Surprisingly there were quite a few. One by one I gave them a call and that’s how I got my job.

The lesson here is that small companies often do not appear in job searches. Most of them only post job openings on their own webpage and cross their fingers that someone eventually will stumble upon them.

The short happiness

So I got my first job by thinking outside the box, using Google Maps and not being afraid to dial up strangers. And then I lived happily ever after…no so much

As it turned out the company I worked for ran into some financial problems. Just a couple of months ago me and half of the staff was let go.  Bummer. Back to sqaure one.

To be fair it wasn’t so bad because I was never that rainbow and fireworks happy there anyway. But off course now I was back at looking for a job.

Being without a job is really not so bad. It is all the side effects that get to me. I believe many people are afraid of being unemployed because it threatens your identity. And the more it threatens you the more you will avoid it. This is why people stay in shitty jobs with shitty managers.

It was hard news when the company cut back on staff. Photo: Pablo Basagoiti

There’s a certain comfort that comes with knowing where you fit in the world. Anything that shakes up that comfort even if it could potentially make your life better – is inherently scary.

A vital lesson from Lost

Anyway. The very first thing I did was to make a list of people in my network that could help me one way or another. OK that’s not really true. The first thing I did was to go home and stared out of the window feeling the waves of panic. But then I remember something vital I learned from a TV show.

This amazing Jedi mind trick isn’t from Star Wars but from “Lost”. The goal is to make sure whatever the thing is that scares you, don’t allow it to hijack your mind. You allow yourself a minute or in my case the rest of the day to engulf in misery. Feel sorry for yourself give it all you got. But you have to set a deadline. And when the time is up you get up and face what scares you.

When I got laid off I allowed myself to be sad for the rest of the day only. For one afternoon I felt really sorry for myself. I might even have cried (ok I cried). But the next morning I put all that shit away and faced the reality.

Photo: Thought Catalog

Below you will find a short list of 4 important steps to take if you want to find a job. Stay tuned. Coming up is an article about how to structure your job search. Sounds boring? Well I never promised it would be fun.


Stay tuned if you want to know how to find a new job…

4 ways to find a Job

  • Make a LIST

    Write down the names of all the people you know who in some way can help you. It doesn’t matter how well you know them. Do a brain dump and put all the names on a piece of paper. And while you´re at it also put down the names of companies that could have openings.
    Now this is crucial: It doesn’t matter how you feel about contacting them! If you only write down the names of people you feel like reaching out to your list will be short but most importantly you will miss out on some important names and persons. Write them ALL down.

    I put colleagues on my list. Some had previously worked at a company that I was interested in. That made them entry points. Push yourself. If it’s easy to find 5 names – then find 3 more. If you find 10 names – find 5 more.

    This list is your starting point. Call everyone on it. And be prepared. Know what you want to say. Are you are asking for a referral to the Sales Manager or the HR manager? Do you want to send them your resume? Know what you want before you dial that number. Be nice and be prepared.

    I got the idea to the List a couple of years ago. One of the names on it ended up becoming my new manager.

  • Look CLOSER

    Most of the companies in the world are small ones. Think about it; do you know all the companies in your municipality? You don´t and that can be your advantage. A company that is a bit unknown by the masses most likely does not get that many job applicants. Secondly and very important when it comes to small companies; the decision process is often short. When you apply for a job you might get to talk to the CEO straight away. Thirdly small companies often only post job openings on their own web page and pray that someone by accident stumble upon it. Look closer and you will find many hidden gems.

  • Take ACTION

    Like in MASSIVE ACTION. Pick up the phone and call them. Right now. Today. And make sure you have practiced how to present yourself. Get up early. The best time to call is before lunch.


    Finding a job when you have no network to rely on is hard. But notice that I only wrote it was hard. I didn’t write impossible. Of course it can be done. It is actually quite simple. But notice I didn’t write easy.


Bonus tips: Read the book “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi


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