The 7 Cs for Developing a Networking Strategy

Networking is one of the most valuable skills you can have as a job seeker. It’s an amazing way to meet new people, build new relationships, and find new opportunities!

But, when you’re searching for a job, time is quite literally money. The less time you spend unemployed, the better. So, my top advice is to have a networking strategy before you go connecting with people. This way, you can target your efforts so you’ll save time and money. Here are my 7Cs for pre-networking planning:

1. Clarify

If you don’t know what you want, how can others help you? Before you think about networking, take the time to get clear on what you want and what makes you unique. This will help you can market yourself to new connections who can assist you on your path towards finding your dream job!

2. Choose

I would never say ‘don’t network with certain people’, because you never know when a new connection can mean a new opportunity. But, if you’re networking with a purpose in mind (like finding a new job), targeting your search so that you connect with a specific group of people that are relevant to your job search will help you get results faster. You can do this by identifying your targetted ROIs – a shortlist of the roles you see yourself in as well as the organizations and industries that you would like to join.

3. Check

Now that you know your targeted ROIs, it’s time to do your due diligence. This is where you conduct research so that you can understand the trends and opportunities in your chosen industry. It’s also your chance to take stock of what’s in demand and how your strengths fit with the market’s needs. Once you’re clear on these, search through LinkedIn to find key players in your industry or top performers at your target organization. Take note of how they format their LinkedIn profiles so that you can update yours to match the preferences of your industry!

4. Contact List

This is when you put together a list of everyone who you want to connect with, including hiring managers, recruiters, top performers, key players, and members of your alumni network. The more organized you are, the quicker you’ll see results! I would recommend making an Excel spreadsheet of the 100 people you want to connect to so that you can keep track of who you need to contact.

5. Communication messages

Write out a set of pre-made outreach messages so that you can complete your hit list quickly. In your messages to your connections, make sure to outline where you are in your career, why you’re reaching out to a specific person, and how they can help you. The same goes for if you’re asking for an introduction.

6. Connect 

Make your connections, send your outreach messages, and cross their names off your hit list!

7. Chat

Make sure to follow up with the responses you get from your outreach by planning a time to meet. If you know that your connection may be too busy to see you in person, suggest a phone call, Google Hangout, or Skype call. Remember that they are taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with you, so be sure to prepare the questions you would like to ask them as well as a meeting agenda beforehand. I would also recommend sending them this agenda in the email so that your meeting is as productive as possible.

Do you have any questions about networking? Let me know in the comments section!

16 thoughts on “The 7 Cs for Developing a Networking Strategy”

  1. Hi Diana,

    Thank you for sharing this. I have recently started reading your blog and I have learned so much. I have a question:
    Is there any good day/time to send a message on LinkedIn. Should I send on a weekend or weekday?

    Thanks,
    Nadia

  2. Hello Nadia,

    Good question! I recommend sending your messages during the weekend as many professionals are busy during the day and your message could be one of ten that they don’t have time to read. If you’re reaching out to recruiters, targeting before work hours in the morning is best as they will be on LinkedIn first thing.

    Diana

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