When you are looking for a job, you would usually ask your family and friends for information on current job openings, business opportunities and tips.

Your family members, relatives and friends belong to your warm contact list. This is the list of people with whom you have or had some personal association. A former classmate, office mate or neighbour may belong to your warm contact list.

Who may be included in your warm contact list? Here are a number of selections:

Relatives and friends

These people are always willing to help you in your job search or business venture. They will be able to provide you with information if they have some, or refer you to trustworthy people who will be able to help you. If they are willing to introduce you to some of their contacts, they can surely provide honest information about the person you are going to associate with.

Schoolmates and members of your church and social club

People who share the same educational background, religious beliefs or hobbies may also help you with finding a job.

You may have a different career from theirs, but they might know somebody who is in the same field or will be able to help you in your career.

However, depending on your level of association with them, they may think twice about giving their opinion or thoughts about their contacts. But if they do, their opinion can sometimes help you plan a strategy on how to approach their contacts and ask for help.

People who sell you things

You may think that your relationship with these people is purely commercial. However, people who sell you things are also sources of networking information.

Since they sell their goods to different types of people, they may have associated with somebody who belongs to the same field as you do, or have heard information about your target job from other clients.

These people will also be happy to help you, since they know that maintaining a pleasant relationship with you means a stable business. Also, if you find a good job, your buying power will increase along with your potential to purchase more from them.

Former employers, colleagues or co-workers

Maintaining a good relationship with former employers and colleagues has more benefits than you can imagine. This is the reason most people try their best to iron out any difficulties they have with their former employers even if they are no longer with the company.

Aside from the possibility that your potential employer will call previous employers when they review your job history, former employers and colleagues are also a good source of first-hand career information.

When you ask family and friends for help, it is possible that they may not be able to give you first-hand or detailed information about a job you are interested in unless they are also in the same field.

When you consult former employers and colleagues from the same sector, they will be able to provide you with valuable information and answer your questions.

Members of your professional organisation

If you belong to a professional organisation, you can consult its current postings from members. If you don’t belong to any, consider joining one since this will be beneficial to your career growth.

A professional organisation can offer you unbiased information on current job openings from its members. The organisation can also give you details on the company profile and even on current market and career trends.

These are the most important people you should include when creating a list of warm contacts. It is better if you contact all of them so you can have many options in your job search. When you talk to them, tell them you are actively looking for a job.