At first it will be uncomfortable and unfamiliar breaking out of the close-knit structure of school & our teams is extremely difficult. You’re used to having a game plan an agenda for you to execute with a specific set of rules. Well the job hunt is no different. In the following paragraphs you’ll find a plan of attack to make yourself a great networker follow these rules & you’re sure to land a great job (or at least make solid business contacts).
The first step in this plan of attack is to make an announcement let everyone know what you’re about to embark on. Most of us have a connection somewhere within a geographical area or an industry, leverage those connections. Let everyone know what you are doing; professors, friends, parents friends, family ask them for help. It’s absolutely amazing how willing people are to help & the six degrees of separation that exist.
The next step is to be more proactive reach out to those you don’t know. This means getting involved in Alumni groups, industry organizations, anywhere you can meet new people. The contacts you make will become vital friends.
Have realistic expectations. To think that the first time you meet someone he or she will offer you a position or become an instant friend is absurd (keep this in mind all things being equal people would rather work with friends & all things being not so equal people would still rather work with friends). Take the time to build the relationship & everything else will fall into place.
Remember networking can be done anytime anywhere. Be aware of whom you’re talking to be outgoing & approachable you never know who you could meet.
The internet's effect on your job hunt. Keep your social networking sites professional & you can actually turn them into professional networking opportunities. Use them to market yourself. Join industry discussions & blogs. Sites like www.linkedin.com & www.thecorporateplaybook.com are geared towards professional networking.
Utilize employee referrals. You may ask yourself during this process why would they be willing to help me. Well believe it or not, it might not be purely intrinsic motivation. Many companies have really anted up on their employee referral bonuses offering major payouts.
Tips to Networking with a cause
* Know what you are looking for: speak succinctly about your talents, skills & goals. Make a strong impression & let those you meet know you’re serious about your future.
* Be assertive: Networking means that you are working towards a goal don’t be afraid to promote yourself & use time with new people wisely.
* Curb the desperation and start listening. Ask questions about how they got to where they are, take mental notes & use this information to your advantage. Don’t come across self-serving, pushy or desperate.
* Keep your tools sharp: Always have an updated resume & always get business cards/ contact information from the people you meet. Follow up with a call or email to let them know you appreciate their time & enjoyed meeting them.
* Stick it out: One key component of networking is working. As with anything worth having it takes time & energy to build a strong contact list.
Good luck with the job hunt & remember the harder you work the luckier you get.
Chief Sales Officer
The Corporate Playbook LLC