The Power Of NetworkingTo help job seekers understand better how to create networks to aid them in their job search, I conducted a video series on How to Network to Get Work. This video series consists of 10 videos that were posted on LinkedIn, each with different points that you can apply to networking. Here are those 10 points:
1) Be CuriousWhen it comes to curiosity in networking, you have to be genuinely interested in people. Curiosity will also break the ice and help you build a relationship. You can do this is through asking questions. These questions should also be powerful and open-ended. These are the types of questions that encourage a two-way conversation. Hence, it’s crucial that you don’t ask questions that are close-ended or merely give you “yes” and “no” answers. Here are examples of questions that you can ask:
- How did you get to where you are today?
- Why did you decide to join this company?
- How did you make the career change from one profession to another?
- What is it like to work here?
- What advice can you give to someone like me who is looking to get into your company?
2) Be Focused With a Target ListHaving a list of your targeted companies and people of interest is one of the ways you can network better. You can also create a list that contains the top 20 to 30 companies that you are targeting. Once you have that list, you can find people who work there. These people could be:
- Those in the profession that you want
- Hiring managers
- Their level of influence
- How long they’ve been in the company
- Something they have in common with you such as the same university or a similar career change
3) Master Your Glowing IntroductionWhen people ask us to tell something about ourselves, we often find it difficult to answer. This shouldn’t be the case as we should know ourselves. However, how do we organize how we introduce ourselves, our strengths, our intentions while showing our personalities? Here are my 8Ps that can help you organize how you can pitch in your winning story:
- Past Experiences
- Proud Accomplishments
- Present Situation
4) Keep Your Message Short and SweetGetting people to respond to our message and applications is perhaps one of the biggest struggles when we apply for jobs and build our network. The unfortunate truth is that not everyone will respond. However, that is normal and should not be a reason for us to feel discouraged. If you want to improve your message, however, here are some helpful tips:
- Give Compliments – When you are giving compliments, you have to ensure that you are sincere about them. You could acknowledge the qualities and traits that you admire or congratulate them for a recent achievement.
- Get To The Point – Give the purpose of you reaching out; if it’s for advice or if it’s for help.
- Seek Advice First – It’s more likely that they will say yes to responding to you than asking for help for job referrals.
- Keep Your Question Easy To Say Yes To – Keep it short to just one ask like the phrase “I would love to meet with you for 20 minutes in the next two weeks. What time works best for you?”
- Phrase Your Ask as a Question – When you phrase it as a question, they are more likely to give you a response.
5) Be ProactiveOne of the unfortunate truths when it comes to building your network for your career is that your first meeting may be cancelled. This is simply because they are prioritizing other things. You can, however, be proactive to ensure your meeting is not cancelled and that they will prioritize you. Here are some ways for you to be proactive:
- Follow up the day before the meeting
- Confirm the meeting time
- Let them know you are excited to meet them
- Send a meeting agenda of the topics and questions you want to discuss
6) Make A Great First ImpressionDid you know that studies show it only takes 7 seconds for a person to form an impression about you? The next thing they then form is your ability to communicate effectively. Hence, it’s crucial for you to take advantage of those 7 seconds. If you want to truly stand out in your job search, making a great first impression is vital. This first impression also includes your initial outreach, your online profile, and how you show up in person or how you respond to the call. Here are a few tips to create a good first impression:
- Your initial outreach message should have a tone that is appreciative and grateful for the advice that you need from them. In these messages, you should also avoid the desperate tone.
- Have a LinkedIn profile that is warm and inviting where people get a sense of who you are. This should also be a profile that will encourage them to connect with you. This should also be a priority since people will most likely search for your online profiles after you reach out to them.
- When showing up in person or on call, you have to give off the sense that you are well-prepared. This preparation can be seen by the way you set the agenda, the way you ask questions, and the way you carry on the conversation. When you’re there in person, you also want to give more importance on little gestures like giving firm handshakes, keeping eye contact, and smiling. These gestures also show that you are present with them. You should also dress for success.
7) Add ValueMany have asked how they can add value when they are the one who needs help. However, this is all just about shifting perspective. You could also add value to little things such as small acts of kindness, giving before you get, sharing and contributing where people appreciate your actions or advice. These acts of value could also make a difference or impact and something that people can benefit from. It is, however, crucial to understand the person’s needs, challenges, struggles, or things that keep them up at night. Once you identify these, you can think of ideas that you can offer. Here are more ways you can add value:
- Share your point of view, ideas, or thoughts.
- Share a whitepaper or article about trends in the industry to show you are aware of what’s happening.
- Share your own personal experience, knowledge, and stories.
- Make an introduction or connection to your network. This is especially useful if you meet a recruiter and they have an opportunity for you but it’s not the right fit and you want to refer someone else in your network.
- Make recommendations about things to do in the city or restaurants they can try.
8) Show Up With EnthusiasmWhen you first meet someone, which of these two sound better: an energetic “Hi! Nice to meet you!” or a monotonous “Hi. Nice to meet you. I have some questions for you today.” Evidently, the energetic greeting is something that we prefer. Thus, if you want to stand out, having great enthusiasm is a great way to stand out. It’s also interesting to know that one reason why employers reject candidates is that they’re missing the fire in candidates. That is to say, they lack passion and enthusiasm. Show up with enthusiasm with these helpful tips:
- Work on your mindset and set an intention that you are going to have a meaningful conversation and you’re looking forward to meeting this person. When you meet someone for the first time, it is also advisable to have an acknowledgment to break the ice. These could be greetings such as, “Hi! Nice to finally meet you!” With the energy that you are showing, people will be able to feel that you are excited to meet them.
- Have an upbeat tone of voice. This shows that you are present, engaged and happy. An optimistic tone of voice also indicates the sincerity of you wanting to be there too. Thus, it is vital to remember being stiff, monotone, and boring as this will make the conversation feel as if it’s a one-way street. If you are an introvert, you can show your enthusiasm by little acts such as a smile that reaches the eyes and to speak with your heart.
9) Always Be Connecting (My ABC Networking Guiding Principle)Studies have shown that at least 70% of the jobs are found through networking. You are also five times more likely to land a job through a referral. Hence, you should Always Be Connecting – anytime, anywhere as you never know who you can meet. You can meet people at weddings, conferences, birthday parties, showers, on a plane or bus ride, or even at church. Another ABC is also Always Be Curious. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and always seek out advice when you get the chance. When you go to your next event, meet at least one new person to find out more about them and to see what opportunities you could uncover. For more detailed points, tips, and information, you can view the video here:
10) Be AuthenticNetworking is not just about contacts. It’s also about discovering what you can do for others and building meaningful connections. For you to achieve this, you should be authentic. Being authentic means being real, genuine, and down-to-earth. It is also about being able to connect and relate to that person on a personal level. What you can do to be genuine are:
- Be vulnerable. Share how you feel so that they can really connect with and feel you.
- Share your personal journey, your own story, your struggles – stories that they can relate and be inspired with.
- Show that you really care about the person that you meet. When they feel that you care about them, they are more likely to be more authentic and real to you.
To sum it up, career networking is indeed a helpful strategy for you to find more career opportunities and to broaden your horizons. It’s also crucial to remember that it’s not always all the time that we get a call back from companies or people that we reached out to.
However, we should never be discouraged in our journey of a career search and self-improvement.
When you are building your networks, remember the ten essential tips which are to be curious, have a targeted list, master your introduction, keep your message short and sweet, be proactive, make a great first impression, add value, show up with enthusiasm, always be connecting, and be authentic.
Here’s to a successful career networking and job search!