Quite some time ago, on my marketing blog called Fix, Build And Drive, I shared the math equation you see to the right. I referred to it as the “formula for growing, and leveraging, a professional network.”
You can read the whole post there, but here are a few snippets super-relevant to today’s discussion:
- “Anything you want to accomplish in life that requires people, must include a lot of people. And they must take action. Without an active network, you will struggle to succeed.”
- “So all of you with big followings on Twitter or connections on LinkedIn, this means you actually have to engage with those in your network; you have to include an in-person component to this formula. That’s how you build social credibility.”
- “And if you don’t have the network, you are starting without a key ingredient. People. Without people, there’s no one to spread the word. And no one knows to hire you.”
And here’s the thing: what’s true for business growth is true for career growth.
Contributed by some of my favorite guest bloggers, here are 12 powerful ways to engage your personal network during a job search – so that they will engage (or re-engage) with you, and start helping.
Reach Out Before Networking Meetings and Events
“If you plan on attending a group function that is formally organized, reach out prior to the meeting, establish contact with someone in charge of either new members or community relations and to establish a point of contact. This will not only give you someone to “break the ice” with, but (if you ask questions during the initial call), help you to understand more about the organization’s purpose to determine if it is a productive investment of your time and energy. No running around with your hair on fire.” – Joan Ramstedt
Be Specific With Your Ask
“Be specific when you ask for help and suggestions. Posting “Help! I need a job, I’ll do anything!” on your Facebook status makes you look desperate and confused, but a personal email on LinkedIn saying “Sue, I see you worked at ABC Company. Can you suggest who I should speak with in the marketing department?” lets Sue know exactly how to help you.” – Leslie Ayres
Engage with a Light Touch
“Do a search on folks you want to connect with on your network. When you find something interesting they recently have done, send them a message (via email or through LinkedIn or Facebook if connected that way) on the item – with a personal touch or congratulations for the achievement.” – Robin Schlinger
Be a Connector
“Strive to introduce two of your network contacts each week. Follow the golden networking rule of “Give to Get.” By helping your network with sound introductions, they will be grateful to you and keep you top of mind in return…” – Lisa Rangel
Donate Your Time and Expertise
“Volunteer at a major charity event in a role that allows you to interact with the guests even if it is a very brief encounter. (Think guest check-in or hospitality.) Then put on your best customer service hat and shine!” – Sharon Hamersley
Leverage the Networks of Your Personal Champions
“Start a social virus by having others make inquiries for you. Networking doesn’t just involve utilizing your own personal network. In fact, you’re not really networking unless you’re engaging your friends’ social networks as well. To do this, simply ask your friends to make some inquiries for you. Follow up with them a week or two later to remind them. People forget!” – Eric Olavson
“Humanize yourself through social media. Resumes are dry. A good social media presence puts a face to the paper.” – Joe Hanson
Engage with a Light Touch
“If you see an article of interest or mentions a contact in your network, email them a link to the article, saying: “Saw this and thought you might be interested to see it!” Or, “Great article in ______ publication. Way to go!” This keeps you top of mind and also builds rapport with those in your network, and that might motivate them to help you in the future!” – Dawn Rasmussen
Clearly State Your Value Proposition
“We all have something unique and different that we can offer. It’s called your personal brand. You can’t make one up, you simply need to unearth it. When you do, your network will be more ready and willing to help.” – Mark Lynch
Help Others With Their Mission
“For instance, help the people you meet with their job searches. When you meet other job seekers at job fairs and other events, find out about their target companies and job titles, and try to help them with introductions to relevant people you know. They will likely want to return the favor!” – Kelly Donovan
Make it Personal
“Send notes to the key people in your network thanking them for something not job search related… or offering your help on some project or task they have. This helps reinforce that you are not using them solely for job hunting. Handwritten notes show you care enough to take the time to write. – Regina Richardson
In a job search? Deliberately engage your personal network. Build a stable of champions all working on your behalf. And watch the good happen!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Tim’s Strategy.
About the Author: Tim Tyrell-Smith is a career, marketing, branding and strategy coach focusing on small business, non-profits and individuals. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim spent 23 years growing premium brands including Nestle Quik, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. Follow Tim on Twitter!