Strategies and techniques to get noticed, build relationships, and get hired
In today’s job market, 80-90% of jobs are not listed in traditional places like job boards or advertisements. These jobs represent the hidden job market, and the best way for you to tap into this market is through networking. So if you want to succeed in landing your perfect job, follow these tips for effective networking:
Establish a goal
Successful networkers always have a goal for each networking event. They think of networking as a marketing activity, not a sales activity. Marketing is about getting your name out there and making a positive and memorable impression so that when someone has a need, they will remember you and consider you for the job.
DO: Prepare your strategy in advance of the networking event. Research the people and companies that will be there and have some questions already prepared.
DON’T: Attend a networking event just to see who is there and what’s going on. Successful marketing is all about preparation and execution.
You will likely meet people who are new to you and don’t fully understand who you are and what you do. Your elevator pitch will be the first impression that you make, so it is important to be quick, concise and accurate so that you can fully engage your listener and encourage them to ask you more questions.
DO: Craft your message to include your target market, your unique value, and deliver this message with confidence!
DON’T: Craft just one message. You will likely want to customize your message depending on the networking event or the industry that is present. It is important to fully understand who you will be speaking with so that you can craft a clear, concise and targeted message.
Business cards and other marketing materials
The purpose of a networking event is to meet and become known to the hiring managers, influencers, and people who can refer you to your new perfect job. You will likely only spend a few minutes with any one person. Business cards and other marketing materials that are appropriate for the event are highly critical to your success in developing your influence network. But remember, wait until you are asked before offering your card, otherwise you can come across as pushy and your card will end up in the circular file. A great way to get others to ask for your card is to ask them for theirs first.
DO: Design a business card that looks professional and bring plenty of them to each networking event.
DON’T: Hand out glossy business cards. People like to write notes on your card to help them remember who you are and where you met. It is nearly impossible to write on a glossy business card.
Follow-up with your connections
If you are an effective networker, you collected many business cards from the people that you met during the networking event. You also wrote a personal reminder on those business cards that was unique to the time you spent with each person. Now that the event is over, it is time to follow-up with each person, thanking them for the conversation, and making plans to further any discussions that you had.
DO: Make a personal note on each card you receive, then follow-up with a letter or email to each person within 1 to 2 business days.
DON’T: Blow off or minimize the value of any connection you make. You never know how someone is connected and whether or not your next perfect job resides within their sphere of influence.
Be a good networker
Establish a clear goal in your mind to work the entire room at a networking or social event. Your goal is to meet as many people as possible, establish some kind of connection, and realize that everyone in that room is a potential referral source. Someone that you meet will know someone who knows someone who knows the person that you will eventually want to meet. So be remarkable and make a great impression so that they remember you.
DO: Work the entire room with a positive attitude. Greet everyone with solid eye contact and a firm handshake.
DON’T: Meet just a few people or stand around listening to other conversations. Networking is about making connections and being memorable.
Eat in advance
Most networking events will have some kind of food and drink available. If your goal is to meet people and make connections, eating and drinking can potentially create awkward situations. It is difficult to shake hands and write notes on business cards when you have food in one hand and a drink in the other.
DO: Eat in advance, or find an appropriate time during the event. Hold your beverage in your left hand so your right hand remains warm and dry when it comes time to shake hands.
DON’T: Drink too much alcohol. Being intoxicate is the worst possible impression you could make with potential influencers.
Where to network
There are numerous places you can network. Industry associations, trade shows, community and civic groups, meet-ups, conferences, networking groups, chambers of commerce – all of these and more – are just the beginning for you to research for potential networking opportunities.
DO: Your homework. Look for every opportunity to be remarkable and make great connections.
DON’T: Minimize the importance of networking as you search for your perfect job. The more people that you meet and influence, the greater your chances of being found and ultimately hired.
Have confidence – believe in yourself
It helps to think of networking as a marketing process that can vary from individual one-to-one meetings, formal conferences, or informal get-togethers. Regardless of the type of networking event, it is important to believe in yourself and exhibit confidence that is going to make a lasting impression with the people you meet.
DO: Remember that you have a strong résumé and add value to an organization and your perfect job. Employers are looking for superior performers. Your job is to help them find you. This will go a long way to giving you confidence in yourself.
DON’T: Attend a networking event without being fully prepared with the points we have made in this post. In today’s job-seeking market, you have to be remarkable in order to stand out from the others. Your ability to demonstrate confidence in your experience and capabilities goes a long way to being referred.
Networking is a marketing tactic where you deliver a personal value proposition to influencers and potential employers. Your goal is to help your network help you, but the process can take time and requires patience.
Because four out of five jobs is found via networking, it is essential that you incorporate it into your job-seeking process. It is one of the best ways to build your credibility, trust, and demonstrate that you are the perfect candidate for the job. Networking can lead to many doors being opened for you so you can find and land your perfect job.
Scott Huetteman is the co-creator of Find My Perfect Job – a program dedicated to teaching job-seeking professionals how to identify, find and land their perfect job, and the host of the JobSeek Radio. Learn more at www.findmyperfectjob.net