The job search landscape has changed recently. In the good old days, two years ago, it wasn’t as difficult as it is now to set up a networking meeting with someone you didn’t know. There are a few reasons for this. Let’s take a look at why first. Then we’ll discuss how you can network more effectively.
First of all, thousands more people than in the recent past are looking for employment or fear they will need to look for employment, soon. This means that one person with the ability to hire within a company could conceivably receive hundreds of requests for a “networking meeting”. In the old days, they may have received a couple of requests and they could accommodate them. Today, however, they have to filter requests based on the warmth of the referral and/or relevancy to what they may have a need to hire.
The other issue today is that many of those thousands of “networkers” are going about it all wrong. They ask for a job. This turns off the poor victim and spoils their view of trying to do something helpful or nice. They feel like the tables have been turned on them or worse, they feel like they are being used. No one wants to feel like they are being used.
The tougher is gets, the better we have to be. Based on the information above, you’ll need to become even better at networking. Consider these points:
- What is the strength of your relationship?
- What specific pieces of information you are seeking?
- What is something of value you can provide in return?
If you barely know the person providing the referral and you know little about the person you wish to network with, what are the chances they’ll agree to meet with you? Slim to none.
What can you do to fix this? First, remember that networking is an investment and takes time. You need to develop relationships. Don’t be in such a hurry to take your information and run to the phone. Take more time to learn about the person offering you a referral. Second, find out how they know this contact they are giving you. All of this data/information will warm up the lead.
Liz Lynch writes and speaks about networking. Her blog offers insight to anyone needing to improve their networking skills. She addresses the needs of business owners and job seekers. In a post about building relationships organically, Lynch recommends:
“Move on to having more robust conversations by asking more thoughtful questions.”
Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers wrote about this: 5 Networking Fundamentals to Land a Job:
- Ask questions
- Be interested in the replies
- Have a story
- Follow up
Someone, somewhere, holds the key to your next job. The fun part is trying to find that person!
About the Author: Hannah Morgan brings over 10 years of experience helping displaced workers search for their next opportunity, and has developed and delivered workshops as well as managed the implementation of Career Navigator, a five-day intensive boot camp for professional level job seekers.
In addition to her blog, Career Sherpa, Hannah is honored to be designated as Job Search Navigator on Job-Hunt.org as well as a featured blogger on HerRochester. She also contributes to Career Collective, a community of expert career coaches and resume writing professionals who write monthly on job search topics, and guest blogs for Brand-Yourself.com on social media trends and tools. Follow Hannah on Twitter!