Everyone has been telling you to start networking in your job search, right? What exactly does that mean, though? How does talking to people about the fact you don’t have a job get you a job? Related: 18 Easy Conversation Starters For Networking Events Here are five ways to make networking work for you:
1. Mix It UpDon’t, I repeat, don’t go to the same places with the same people over and over again. It is very easy to seek a pattern or habit when you are in a new and potentially uncomfortable place. Few people like going into a room of strangers and walking up to someone and telling him you are out of work. It sucks enough to know it – you don’t like having to say it. But… get over the fear! Expand your list of contacts. Grow your circle. Increase your influence.
- Network in groups of people who are looking for work.
- Network with people who are active in your industry.
- Network with people who already know you.
- Network with professionals who have companies in the same city you want to work.
2. Know Your MessageYou are the President, CEO, and Sales Manager for You, Inc. What are you selling? Who are you selling it to? Let me fill you in on a little secret… the answers are not you are selling your resume (or a verbal version of it) to anyone who’s buying. I promise you the overly general, include everything you’ve ever done, just in case someone might want you to do the job you did 17 years ago approach doesn’t work in a networking context. Be specific. You should be able to tell anyone who asks, without hesitation, what your strengths are, a few job titles that would be a good fit, and what value you bring to an organization. Also, you should be able to tell anyone who asks 5 – 10 organizations and/or people you would like to meet or get to know better.
3. Do What You Say You’ll DoEveryone knows actions speak louder than words; when you are networking for a job, this is more important than ever. You are sending micro-messages to your network with each and every commitment you make and keep (or don’t). Tell them how great you are!
- If you offer to make a connection for someone, do it. And do it in a timely manner.
- Planning to meet someone for a quick cup of coffee before your job club? Be on time!
- Has someone offered to introduce to you to their boss/friend/colleague as soon as you send your resume over? Take the time to tweak the resume for the job and get it over FAST!