NETWORKING


Submitted by: Mike Doody -- CCC Career Coach Volunteer and Board Member; Retired Executive Search Consultant

 

We’ve all heard that 80% of new positions are gotten though networking – and most of us understand that and accept it as reality.  Yet, when I meet with job seekers at CCC to discuss their search and how much networking they are doing – many of them confess to not being comfortable networking. “I don’t know how to ask someone to help me get a job.”

 

A lot of us feel uncomfortable with networking, because we don’t know what networking really entails or how to pull it off.  As in the case of a lot of things that we are not familiar with, networking is not as complicated or difficult to do successfully as we might think.  It merely requires some planning, preparation and practice which consists of:

1. Making sure your resume and handbill are in order and ready to share with others.That means knowing what you are looking for in that next career position.

2. Reaching out to that person you want to network with. Let them know you are looking for that next career position, and you’d welcome talking with them about it to gain their insights, ideas and suggestions.

3. Practicing your elevator speech before you meet them. Know how you are going to answer the inevitable question: “What are you looking for?”Think about the other inevitable questions they might ask and practice how you will answer those questions. Be sure you are prepared to identify position titles you think are logical for you to pursue.Also, be prepared to share target companies you are thinking about.You might want to ask if they have ideas of other companies.-

4. Asking  if they know anyone at those target companies; or at any of the companies where you have identified an opportunity that you want to pursue.

5. Preparing questions you want to ask them.

6. When the day arrives for your meeting, be sure to arrive early and present yourself professionally – in both dress and demeanor.

7. Greeting your contact enthusiastically and energetically, with a firm handshake and a smile. Display confidence.

8. Be prepared to listen, more than talk. You should be anxious to hear your contact’s ideas, perspectives, opinions and suggestions and answer their questions with clarity and, whenever possible, specifics.

9. Show your appreciation by asking if there is anything you can do for her/him. Remember:networking is a two-way street!

10.Before your conversation comes to an end – ask your contact if she/he has the names and contact information of two or three people you should know.

 

As the conversation comes to its end, be sure to express your appreciation and thanks.  Repeat your offer to return the favor anytime you can be of help to him.  Finally, follow up with the thank you note.  Remember to find times and ways in the future to connect with your contact.   Most importantly, don’t forget to reach out to the contacts she shared with you!  Keep growing your network.

 

Good luck!  You can do it!!




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