My Favorite Networking Tips

A few months ago I wrote about how networking pays off during a job search. In that post, I shared some of my favorite networking tips; be brief, set an agenda for your conversation, keep yourself in front of your connections, search online groups or discussions to meet industry professionals, and lastly help others as they will help you.

My readers submitted several great comments regarding the power of networking in finding jobs and the importance of making connections and seizing opportunities. One reader even shared how he got a job at a company without an interview because he had worked there. In fact, he said that the position was never even posted to the public. Isn’t it great to hear these examples of how networking has really paid off?

I’m sure you might be wondering – how does it all happen? How do I take this networking advice and implement it.

Be brief and, set an agenda for your conversation

Be respectful of an individual’s time. As a sourcing & diversity specialist, I often initiate several networking calls during a work day, in addition to my regular daily work. I prefer a limited amount of small talk (I’ve found that sales/marketing types are easily identifiable as they tend to find something of personal interest to the caller and incorporate that once or twice during the conversation – I love that!). Do set yourself an agenda for your conversation. This really does help you stay on point. We prefer to hear mostly about your professional experiences during your career. I find it best to focus on your skills and qualifications, or activities and skills you can transfer to the new position. I also find it helpful when individuals share any apparent factors that might exclude them from being the best match for the position (for example, not interested in location of the job or salary is not a match).

Keep yourself in front of your connections

A constant reminder- I appreciate the fact that career seekers might check in with me occasionally about specific roles or an overall interest in our great organization (just don’t be a pest by calling too often). Last month, someone who I had not heard from in almost two years, decided to contact me. In fact, I quickly placed this caller as I had remembered that we had some consistent networking conversations in the past. The caller shared that he has recently been working in a similar field to insurance. We talked about our mutual interests and how to best find opportunities. Within a week or two, the caller had found a career opening within our company and applied.

Search online groups and discussions to meet industry professionals

As I mentioned in my post Networking Pays off during a Job Search the key to networking is finding the right people. Get out on industry sites, discussion forums, professional networks, or groups to find people with commonalities. As one of my readers mentioned, seek out new connections, family and friends are a great network, but what about clients or other business associates, colleagues from educational programs, parent committees, or volunteer activities.

Help others and they will help you

You never quite know when a connection can directly lead to a career opportunity. Start by making an initial contact and then build trust over time – perhaps send over an article with valuable content, suggest a book, or share expertise requests. When you do make a connection, check in once in a while for occasional reinforcement. You might even try to help people connect with each other; and growing your network will become rather easy. Remember, flattery can go along way, remind people of how helpful they have been to you. And don’t forget to thank them!

Lisa

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