So what is Professional Networking?
Think of that old "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" game. You connect with people in your industry through people you already know. Each of these connections can offer their insights and advice about industry issues and emerging trends. Some of these new connections will refer you along to other people in your industry. Each connection strengthens your position as a player in your industry.
The best way to get your job application to stand out from the rest is to have it presented to the hiring manager by a company employee or business colleague. That requires you to have a connection with a lot of people to increase the odds that you will know someone connected to an open position that is right for you. So the key to finding your next position may be to expand your professional network.
Approach networking like any other important project:
- Plan your search
- Start with a list of your target companies and desired positions.
- Identify your strenghts and past achievements.
- Tip: Now is not the time to be humble, but it IS the time to be realistic.
- Map your current network
- Review all your contact lists on phones and email.
- Create a listing of names, employers, and expertise.
- Start building your database in ManageJobApplications.com
- Tip: Do not forget to include former supervisors and work peers.
- Start scheduling your meetings
- Reach out to each contact to schedule 20 minutes for an informational discussion.
- Propose at least three possible dates and times when you reach out. Don't leave it open.
- Tip: Stress that you are looking for advice, not a job.
- Jot some notes to prep for your initial meetings
- Focus on building a series of bullet points, not a narrative.
- List your key target roles and how you are prepared to excel.
- Tip: Don't over prepare. This is not a recital.
- Print copies of your resume
- You will leave a copy with each contact as you conclude your discussion.
- Do not print too many at once because you will tweak it over time.
- Don't skimp on the paper quality. You are trying to make an impression.
- Meet with each contact, virtually or in person
- You are buying the coffee (or whatever)!
- Show gratitude and humility.
- Tip: Keep track of the time. At the 20 minute mark, thank them and be ready to leave.
- Ask about additional contacts that you can meet
- This is a key element of the meeting.
- Don't shy away from asking. Your contact will not be surprised.
- Be sure to obtain permission to use the contact's name as introduction.
- Lather, rinse, repeat. Find that perfect job!
- This is not an overnight process. Stick with it and you will succeed!
- Tip: All this work will generate a lot of information. Let ManageJobApplications.com organize it for you.
Networking takes a lot of time, a lot of attention, and a lot of record keeping. That's why this site was created.
With the administrative side of networking under control, you will have more time to spend on the real work: finding your next job!
So give ManageJobApplications.com a try, it is free and doesn't even require an email for registration.