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Networking is not an option – it’s a Must-Do for every Jobseeker!
With a rise of technologies and social media, “Network or not to Network” has become out of question. Keeping in mind that 60-70% of jobs are not posted online (but filled internally or via referrals), networking has turned into a key that unlocks that hidden job market and gives you access to what it offers.
Human connection and interaction have always been the basic needs of mankind. For this reason, even in the pandemic realities, people found ways to meet, communicate, and provide value for each other. Because, in a nutshell, that’s what networking is all about – creating mutual value and support.
Now, how does it help you in your job search? How can you turn a complete stranger into an ally ready to help you get a job? It’s really not rocket science when you follow a few core principles of networking.
#1 Networking is a long-term venture
Embrace the fact that networking takes time. With very rare exceptions, it is not something that will bring you a new job tomorrow. It’s all about building relationships and communicating how you can serve others.
Here your focus should be put on getting to know the right people, and then making sure they get to know you … to the extent they know you well enough to help you or recommend you to others.
Let’s say, you decided to make a primary contact by engaging with this person’s content on social media. Or attending a networking event. Or using LinkedIn (as a top professional platform) to get in touch with recruiters and prospective employers. Whichever approach you choose — show up consistently, generate quality conversations, and seek to give before receiving.
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#2 The First contact can make it or break it
From my experience, and the experience of many other networkers coming before me, it works better when you do your homework and come prepared.
If possible or applicable, find out as much as possible about a person you are about to contact, and bring it in your first conversation or communication touch point. For example, prior to messaging or sending a connection invite on LinkedIn, try to discover the following:
► What stands out about them
► What you have in common
► What impressed you the most on their profile
► How you can help them in their problems and pains, etc.
Find a specific reason to connect. After that, make a personalized contact focused on this individual’s accomplishments, results, or present work. Speaking of recruiters, you should also check if they operate in the right field (and presently hire).
Another example: before going to a networking event, whether in-person or online, not only prepare to listen and engage in a dialogue (if you Google it, you’ll find plenty of brilliant conversation starters, “ice-breakers”, etc). You should also have something to say about yourself when you’re asked.
There is lots of advice on how to create a great elevator pitch. The key here is to prepare in advance and rehearse until it flows naturally. A tip from me: don’t try to squeeze your entire life into a one-minute monologue — make it clear, focused, and concise. For online networking, a well written introductory note can be an excellent alternative. In any case, you should articulate:
► Who you are
► What you do
► What value you provide
► What’s in it for them!
Now, think of a famous WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”) acronym which is a driving force in marketing and sales. Those who manage to communicate to customers how they benefit from an offered product or service hit the highest sales marks. The same principle applies to a job search. Miracles happen when what THEY need matches what YOU have — or, in other words, what’s in it for them in hiring you? Once you have explained it, you have nailed it.
Craft your UVP (Unique Value Proposition) carefully and thoroughly. And then tailor it to a specific person’s needs and pain points. Similar to not sending the same CV to everyone without customizing it first, your introductory pitch — either written or spoken — has to be slightly modified (i.e. personalized) every time it’s delivered.
Image credit: Pixabay
#3 People respond when you make it about them, not You
Do you like talking about yourself? I’m sure you do, and it’s true even about the humblest of us. I love when someone refers to my recent article, webinar, or social media publication. All people love hearing their names and accomplishments too — because everyone appreciates attention and recognition.
Here are the three fundamentals that make people like you, respond to you, buy from you, or hire you:
► You make them FEEL GOOD
► You help them ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS
► You help them SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS
When you make other people feel understood, respected, valued, supported, and/or accepted — you provide value to them or offer help — and you turn your interaction into a positive experience — then you are guaranteed to receive a positive response. It will open doors for you, both literally and figuratively.
Image credit: Pixabay
#4 Nourish your Relationships
Once the acquaintance is made, expand it and nourish it. While growing your relationships, you can get as creative as possible – from sending congratulations on special occasions, to supporting their social media content. Continue paying attention and giving recognition.
Express genuine interest in their professional life. Regularly send a note of support or motivation. Share valuable information, thoughts, and ideas. Discuss trending topics. If appropriate, set up real or virtual coffee meetings.
When you do all of the above, your moment will come. You can either be proactive and ask for referrals time after time, or stay visible and consistent until becoming their #1 go-to person when it comes to your industry or area of expertise. Given the fact we’re more open to helping those we know, like, and trust — keep building a rapport in a natural, non-pushy way, and that dream job will definitely find you (one way or the other).
Image credit: Pixabay
#5 Be ready to give back
Networking has always been a two-way street, with mutual support as the core value. Never assume your endeavours end once you land that job offer. When someone refers or recommends you, look for ways to return a favour.
Leave a testimonial on their page. Give a shoutout to their upcoming event. If presently it is impossible to express your gratitude in a tangible way, send them a thank-you card — and keep this person in mind until the right opportunity emerges.
Every time I hear the phrase “Scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”, I immediately think of networking — as that’s exactly how it works.
To wrap it up, be intentional in your networking activities and remember: it’s not a numbers game — it’s about real relationships, with real people. Be helpful and supportive. Be grateful and open-minded. Be genuine — and it will attract the right people to you. Moreover, you’ll end up building a support group, a community, or a tribe where everyone cares for others. Happy networking!
Galyna Daniel is a Co-Founder of Dream Job CV and a Certified CV Writer, with background in digital marketing and copywriting. Having 5 years experience in Career Coaching, CV writing, and LinkedIn profile optimisation, Galyna guides jobseekers on how to achieve their professional goals through appropriate self-presentation and self-marketing in the digital space.
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