Last month, this column focused on networking. As noted in the column, studies have shown that over 60 percent of job seekers find jobs through networking. A brief overview of networking was presented, with a focus on creating a networking plan and a networking list and making a networking call. Below are a few more networking tips which may be helpful in landing your new job:
- Find contacts who really want to help.
- Stay in touch. Keep interested contacts aware of your job search progress until you can inform them of your new position.
- Always express your gratitude. Send a handwritten thank-you note within 24 hours of a meeting.
- Be clear about what you want from your contacts.
- Be very thoughtful about your 30-second “elevator speech” and practice its delivery. For example, a “speech” which answers the question “What kind of work are you looking for?” could be, “A position with a small- to medium-sized, high-tech manufacturing firm where I can use a my five years experience in sales management to contribute to the advancement of a company’s manufacturing, sales and public relations goals.”
- Create business cards to be used as “calling cards.” You don’t need to list a job title or company name—just your basic contact information.
- Always be prepared—have business cards and resumes with you at all times.
- Effective networking is not a one-shot deal. Nurture long-term reciprocity.
- Find people who are experienced in the areas you’re pursuing and build relationships with them. They’ll be a sounding board for your ideas and help analyze your career goals.
- Volunteering, part-time jobs and temporary work are alternate ways to network for information and job leads.
- Professional associations are full of avid networkers who would welcome you to meetings. They are usually full of energy, a state which is infectious and will help keep you energized.
- Associations are key to the “hidden job market” and networking. Their websites post membership directories, industry news and job trends and targeted resource libraries. To connect with associations, visit your local library or go online to the American Society of Associations at www.asaenet.org.
- Networking is happening all around us. It’s easy to get stuck in the library or on the computer. Take a deep breath and just do it!
Finally, don’t get discouraged if your networking does not show immediate results. Job positions of interest are not always open when you’re beginning your search. With a little perseverance, a job opportunity may come from your networking efforts when you least expect it. IBI