6 ideas for better networking

Successful job seekers have learned the best way to find a job is to speak to hiring managers before applying. The most effective way to get hired is to be referred directly to the hiring manager by a current employee. An effective way to find current employees is by networking.

People who network successfully do the following things:
·         Use all possible networking venues: 'By-chance' meetings, Formal meetings, Casual activities, LinkedIn, Social Media, everything.
·         When meeting people for the first time they ask simple questions that show interest in other person, like "What do you do?", "How is your day going?", "Where are you from?" These are easy questions particularly if you have a more introverted personality.
·         They keep asking questions to draw the other person out and are always looking for common ground to establish rapport.
·         In the beginning of a networking conversation, they avoid saying you they may be seeking a new job. Starting conversations by saying they are job hunting tends to put people on the spot and may cause them to become defensive.
·         They make themselves likable by showing interest, establishing trust, and offering help before seeking it.
·         If they are using LinkedIn or other social media they check the other person's profile, looking for topics the other person is interested in to ask about.

The most successful networkers do not focus on themselves.

3 reasons your request to connect might be ignored.

LinkedIn is a great place for job seekers to network. It's a valuable resource for those who are seeking a new job and want to find out about a company, a hiring manager or want to get an introduction to a hiring manager. It's easy to find information or get help by requesting to connect with people you know or would like to know.

But it's also easy for your request to become a complete turn-off.

When you want to connect with someone you don't know you are most likely to be rejected if:

·         You haven't said why you want to connect. Be specific. What is the purpose of your request? Do you want the recipient's help? Why do you believe the recipient might be able to help you? Have you read the recipient's profile? Do you know what they do? Have you checked out their interests so you can establish rapport? Can you find anything you may have in common with them?

·         You sent the default LinkedIn request. "I would like to join your network" is a pretty darn uninspiring message. How important to you is establishing a connection with the person? Is it too much to try to appeal to the recipient? Is your message unappealing?

·         Your own profile isn't complete. Most people will check out your profile before they decide to accept your request. Is yours complete? Is it appealing?

LinkedIn's main purpose is to help people network professionally. It is not a "popularity" site where you can brag about how many friends you have or discuss how much fun you had at somebody's party last night. Leave all that to FaceBook.

If you are serious about wanting information about a company, job, or hiring manager, consider being professional about how you request a connection.

Clues to better networking for a job

When you don't already know the hiring manager, the most effective way to get hired is to be referred directly to the hiring manager by a current employee.

If you know the employee, networking with them is simplified. They are either a close friend, a friend of a friend, or an acquaintance you don't know a lot about.

If you don't know them, networking becomes a bit more complex. Approaching them takes some tact.

There are several elements to successful networking.
  • The networking venue: Is it a 'by-chance' meeting, a formal meeting, a casual activity, an email, a phone connection, or other?
  • Understand your own personality: Do you tend to be outgoing or are you more introverted?
  • Understand how your interpersonal actions affect other types of people: Are you an engaging person, more direct in your approach, or uncomfortable starting conversation?
  • Establish rapport, seek common ground: Draw the other person out and find out about them?
  • Establish being likable: Establish trust, offer help before seeking it?

In general don’t ask people for a job. This puts them on the spot and may cause them to become defensive. Establish rapport by finding something you have in common with the person you are communicating with. Check their LinkedIn profile and social media, or Google them for topics they are interested in to ask them about.

“It’s not who you know, but who wants to know you"

That quote makes a very good point. 

When we are job searching it is important to be thinking about what the hiring manager's needs are, not just ours. That applies to how our resume is written and what we say when networking.

When writing our resume it is common for us to be thinking, "What have I done? I better think of everything in the hope that something I say will interest the hiring manager."  Wrong!

Those questions apply when we are creating a base list of accomplishments we can use to pick and choose items from when we write a resume that responds to a specific hiring manager's needs. Today there is really no such thing as a resume that is "all things for all people". Everything changed in the mid 90's with the beginning of the web. With access to a computer, word processing software and the web, we could easily create, edit and distribute documents. Forget about mail and 'sneaker-net'.

To be competitive today it is necessary to find out the specific needs for each job we wish to apply to and tune a resume that responds directly to those specific needs. This makes it possible for readers to quickly see those things that are of interest to them. The rest of our background is of significantly less importance to them.

Likewise, when networking, it is key to focus on the person we are talking to, not ourselves. That is accomplished by asking more questions about them and their interests and opinions than talking about ourselves. This is the approach that will most often lead to them liking us and wanting to help us later on when they ask us about our interests (our opportunity to ask for help).

It is important to find out who wants to know us, and understand why, so that we can be responsive to needs!

There is no such thing as unemployment!

R U Kidding?! Not really, it depends upon what you do about it. Those who do not have a paid job have the most important, perhaps the most difficult, job they ever had, or ever will have!

Unemployment could be defined as "a state in which a person is actually self-employed, without pay, in a job with the sole objective of getting a paid job, or a different self-employment position that pays."

When unemployed there is one rule to live by: Rule #1 - Don’t wait to be found!

OK, but "How should one job search"? The answer is "That depends". There are many search tactics. However there is one thing they all have in common: The need to network! 
  • Word-of-mouth works for people who are well known in their field, sometimes without a resume.
  • Others are well connected with recruiters who have successfully helped them  in the past. 
  • A few, less than 2%, are successful applying blindly, without introduction, to job jobs posted on job boards or company websites. 
  • More are successful applying on LinkedIn. 
  • But the highest success rate is achieved by people who find ways to make direct voice contact with hiring managers.

They use a number of different search tactics to get there. They always involve their own network and are constantly expanding it by finding people who know the hiring manager or know someone else who does. 

They use LinkedIn a lot to connect with current or past employees of a company they are targeting. They find out if the company has an Employee Referral Program in which their new connection can get a bonus by referring them. In fact this is among the most successful tactics.

They find hiring manager's names on LinkedIn, Google, Annual Reports, company web pages, industry journals, Business Chronicles, and more. They learn successful sales techniques to make direct contact through calls to the hiring company.

They are successful because they don't wait to be found. They make it happen!

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