Several months ago speaker Sue Gresham spoke to the Crossroads Career Network at Hales Corners Lutheran Church. This article is a summary of the remarks Sue made.
Networking is all about building relationships. It is estimated 85% of jobs are found through networking. So in your job search it isn’t just what you know, but who you know. Networking is all about planting seeds. You don’t know what will take root and grow. Networking is the same. You don’t know when the next job lead will come or where it will lead.
Who’s in your network
You know hundreds of people. Your network includes, friends, family, neighbors, former co-workers, classmates, professional contacts, customers, business owners and fellow members of volunteer or civic organizations.
50 people you know also know 50 people
50 x 50 =2500 potential network contacts.
Do you know more than 50 people? Even better!
Each one may be a potential lead or referral to your next job!
Some of the following may hold people back:
- Don’t want to impose.
- Afraid of rejection
- Where do I start?
- What do I say?
- I am intimidated by network events.
- Choose an event
- Why are you attending (referrals, professional contacts, information)
- Who attends? ( check them out on LinkedIn)
- Purpose of the event (speaker, job hunting, business contacts)
- Will food be served?
- What is the cost? Time? Location?
- Who is sponsoring
- Is there a Speaker (research on LinkedIn)
Your main goal will be to meet people, develop a relationship and to maintain the relationship. If that leads to a referral or job that is great but should not be the main goal. You should also be willing to share leads, information and expertise. This should be a two way relationship. Don’t just be a taker, offer help to others.
- Name tag on the right
- Use a firm handshake
- Do not spend too much time at the bar or buffet table.
- Relax and be yourself.
- Ask questions and be interested in others.
- Always keep one hand free to shake hands.
- Be ready with business cards.
- Look for those by themselves and approach.
- Don’t sell products.
- Don’t interrupt others.
- Be positive and friendly.
- Don’t stalk.
- Move on to new groups periodically.
- Listen at least as much as you talk.
- Be interested in the other person.
- Offer help or advise if you can.
Remember to ask people if there is anything you can do for them. Exchange business cards. Write anything you need to remember on the back. Arrange for a follow up meeting if needed.
- Write down anything you want to remember about the event.
- Create a follow up strategy.
- Follow up with those you committed to meet.
- Send Thank you notes to the speaker or organizer.
- Organize the business cards you gathered.
Evaluate if the event met your goals so you can decide if you want to attend in the future. If you do arrange to meet someone after a network event you should pay. It is polite. Do not impose on people when you are asking them for help. Be sure you are giving as much as receiving in your networking encounters. If you sense the relationship is not working, let the relationship go and seek out others for your network.
Thanks to Sue Gresham for presenting this topic. Sue is a volunteer for both Job Camp and the 40 + job forum. She is a certified social media strategist, trainer and coach. She speaks to many job seeker groups in the Milwaukee area. Sue is also the job search examiner on foamcage.com