Eight Networking Tips
by ResumeEdge.com- The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
it would make the introverts, the meek, the shy, and the novices awfully happy
if the newspaper classifieds contained all job openings, that's simply not the
case. In fact, some of the best jobs aren't listed anywhere except in the
mental catalogues of CEOs and managers.
So how do you apply for jobs that aren't advertised anywhere, that exist only
in the seemingly inaccessible minds of working America's movers and shakers?
You meet people who might have insight into your job search. You talk to
people who know people who could help you out. You chat it up with strangers
at parties. You cold-call people you've read about in the newspaper. You write
cordial letters to prominent community leaders. You cultivate an arsenal of
contacts. In short, you network.
Think about networking as a game, as a sport, as a personal challenge. Below
are some strategies for success.
1. Brainstorm for Contacts.
Think of everyone who could possibly serve as a contact. Don't limit yourself
to people who could clearly help you out - friendly, accessible people in
unrelated fields often have contacts they would be happy to share with you.
Also, people who, through either work or volunteer activities, have contact
with a diverse crowd can be extremely helpful. To get you started with your
list, here are some suggestions:
||Your hair dresser
||Prominent community members
|Public relations officials
||Members of professional organizations
Where the Contacts Are - Tried and True Places to Network
|Local alumni association
Networking is a little like planning a political campaign. While it's
essential that you are honest and relaxed, you should not wing it. Just as
politicians think about what they tactically need to accomplish, convey, and
gain when they make an appearance or give a speech, you should approach
networking opportunities with a game plan. Before you confidently and
charmingly sashay into a business conference room, a dinner party, or group
event, do your homework. Find out who will be there, or do your best to list
who you think will probably be present. Then decide who you would most like to
meet. When you have your list of potential contacts, thoroughly research their
work and their backgrounds and then make up some questions and conversational
statements that reflect your research. And finally, think critically about
what your goals are for your networking function. What information do you want
to walk away with? What do you want to convey to the people you meet? But, as
is always true, it's important to be flexible and to perceive opportunities
you didn't plan to confront.
4. Networking Knows No Boundaries
Business conferences, informational interviews, college reunions, and cocktail
parties are obvious networking opportunities - you expect to walk away with a
few business cards and some recommendations for potential rolodex entries. But
the reality is that invaluable contacts and enviable opportunities often
surprise us. Good networkers are flexible people who approach
connection-making as a fluid enterprise that extends far beyond hotel
conference room walls. You never know who will step onto the adjacent
elliptical trainer at the gym; who will be parked behind you in an
interminable grocery store line; who will sit next to you on an airplane; or
who will be under the hair dryer next to you at the beauty salon. Don't let
these opportunities pass you by. While it may have been sheer luck that you
bumped into an affable CEO, your savvy approach to networking can turn a banal
exchange into a pivotal moment in your career path. Always be ready to make a
contact and exchange business cards. And remember, don't hesitate to network
someone who has no obvious connection to your ambitions: Your new contact may
be able to give you relevant names of his or her friends and colleagues.
5. Follow Up
you meet with a contact, it is absolutely essential to write a thank you note.
Tell your contact how much he or she helped you, and refer to particularly
helpful, specific advice. Everyone - even the most high-level executive -
likes to feel appreciated. In addition to immediate follow-up after a meeting
or conversation, keep in touch with your contacts. This way, they may think of
you if an opportunity comes up, and they will also be forthcoming with new
advice. It's important to stay on their radar screens without being imposing
or invasive. And, of course, if you get that new job, be sure to tell them and
thank them again for their help.
What Goes Around Comes Around
you want to be treated with respect, treat others with respect. If you want
your phone calls and email missives returned, call and write back to the
people who contact you. If you want big-wigs to make time for you, make
yourself available to others whom you might be able to help out. It's that
The higher up you climb in the professional world, the more you'll find that
everyone knows everyone else. Thus, if you're impolite, curt, condescending,
or disposed to burning bridges, you'll cultivate a reputation that will serve
as a constant obstacle. Remember - the people who seem little now will one day
be running companies and making decisions. If you treated them with kindness
and respect when they were green, they'll remember and return the favor later.
Make It Easy For Your Contacts
you call, meet with, or write to a potential contact, make it as easy as
possible for them to help you. Explain what you specifically want, and ask
example, "I'm looking for jobs in arts administration. Do you know anyone
who works at the Arts Council? May I have their names and phone numbers? May I
use your name when I introduce myself to them?" Another entrÃ©e into a
productive conversation is to solicit career tips and advice from your
contact. Most people love to talk about themselves. By asking for your contact
to offer valuable insight from his or her personal experiences and successes,
he or she will feel important and respected. Who doesn't like to feel like an
sure to avoid making general demands, such as, "Do you know of any jobs
that would be good for me?" This sort of question is overwhelming and it
puts an undue burden on your contact.
Keep a record of your networking. Whether you do this in a Rolodex, in a
notebook, or in a database file on your computer, it's important to keep track
of your contacts. Make sure your system has plenty of room for contacts'
names, addresses, phone numbers, companies, job titles, how you met them, and
subsequent conversations you've had with them.