Go ahead! Say it out loud – “I don’t want to network. I do not like meeting all of these people I really have nothing in common with and talk about myself. More that that, it is a total waste of time. I do not meet the right people to help me out.” Right? Yes? Did I nail it or what? Trust me, I have heard much more that these couple of statements.
After you have your list of career goals, your career development plan and your brand/identity nailed down, it is time to learn a few networking tips and making connections that matter. By making connections that matter you want to think in terms of quality of connections versus quantity in order to build a successful network. Most opportunities come from people who are more like you, people who have similar or complimentary values and interests. Tap into some of those resources you have already. For instance:
- People that you have a high level of trust in
- Those people you are already on the radar screen of and make meaningful contributions to
- People who could be influential to your career
- Associations you belong to or can join in your industry
- Events you can attend where hiring managers, other executives or professional people will be
Your first step is to find those individuals who are interested in building relationships where you will exchange information or referrals with one another. Be curious and do research prior to meeting with people one on one. You can easily explore them through social media. Be sure you go to a meeting prepared with knowledge about them personally and professionally. You know, like, what groups do they belong to or non profit organizations do they support as well as their professional data.
Set weekly goals on the number of face to face meetings you are successful at setting. This will vary depending upon the time you have available to dedicate to your job search. Be consistent. You will begin to move from feeling stuck to feeling like you are really going somewhere on the road to finding the job of your dreams. If you attend an association meeting or an event with a large number of people, be sure you attend equipped with your resume if it is appropriate. Sometime, you are better off just bringing your “resume card”. When you are making a career or job change, a resume card is similar to a traditional business card except it is designed with key areas of expertise and what position you are interested in securing. This will definitely help people in your network make connections that matter to you.
On your face to face meetings:
- Have your authentic story ready to go.
- Givers gain- so ask what you can do for the other person first.
- Learn to make warm introductions.
- When asking for a referral or when given one, ask that person to call first and/or be introduced to each other via email.
- Make a commitment to continue to expand your networking connections that matter.
- Let other people see your progress and your commitment. They will be more committed to helping you.
- Lastly – “Be the change you want the world to be.” Gandhi Your positive actions will be an inspiration to others.
Follow up. People these days expect to see an email that same day if not the next. I would encourage you to send a nice little note card through the postal service as well. It is a gesture far too few people do anymore that really makes a positive impact on the recipient.
I would be happy to conduct a complimentary career and resume review session with you. Please call 636-778-9090.
Trish Dervin, CCMC Career Transition Coach
St. Louis and Nationwide 636-778-9090 [email protected]