Blog Archives

Networking Tips for the Job Seeker

In my library workshop, “Search the Hidden Job Market”, I talk about becoming the information sleuth.  Think of yourself as a detective or consider putting your dog to work at sniffing out the jobs. There are all sorts of channels to work  and the more pathes you take, should increase your odds of landing a job.  If nothing else, you’ll be busy.

  1. Of course, go ahead and work through the job boards.
  2. Meet with recruiters and headhunters for you might just be an ideal match.
  3. Tell all your friends and relatives.
  4. Tell the strangers you meet while waiting at the dentist or doctor’s office, at the grocery, at the gym, etc.
  5. Follow the jobs in Linkedin especially the ones listed in your groups.
  6. Read the newspaper and especially the business section.  Be sure to think about what the headlines may mean with regard to potential hiring. Are there new companies moving in?  Is anyone moving to larger quarters these days? Or, have any companies been awarded a large government contract perhaps?
  7. Identify vendors or suppliers who might know where there are job openings at companies with whom they do business.  For example, if you were an accountant, you might contact CPA firms to find out if any of their clients have job openings or perhaps you could contact the sales reps for accounting software.  If you are an HR specialist, you might contact employee benefits companies or HR specific software providers.
  8. Don’t forget trade or professional associations.  Join them and get involved.  It could be money and time well-spent.
  9. Try writing a blog.  An article I read in the The Wall Street Journal a few years ago, featured someone who got noticed and got a job because of the reputation she established with her blog.

Above all, be visible!

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Networking for the Sake of Networking

Are you on Linkedin or Facebook?  And, do you have lots and lots of friends or connections?  Some of us may feel the pressure to be well-connected with volumes of people online.  But, does the quantity of contacts really mean anything and what is the point?  So, with our abundance of contacts, where has that taken us, anyway?

Long before the existence of Linkedin and Facebook , we maintained business card and Roladex files.  To me,  just going through the motion of collecting names, phone numbers, and business cards without putting much thought into it,  didn’t work well back then and it really doesn’t work well even in today’s online world.  My simple brain told me years ago that someone had to have a compelling  reason to do you a favor as in returning a favor or expecting something of value in the future.

Gordon Curtis in his book, Well Connected sums it up more eloquently than I have.  Here’s the essence of it.

Curtis says, you have to target the right person and apply the right approach, . Both parties need to reach an outcome that is beneficial to both of them.  A-ha.  So, I wasn’t too far off.  He states several criteria necessary in order for networking between two parties to work.  The keywords he uses  are ” like-minded”, “obligated”, “motivated” and “able”.  Without those, it’s highly unlikely someone will do anyone else a favor or enter into a deal.

Networking to achieve results requires a well-planned strategy.  So, develop your objectives and desired outcomes. When you identify potential networking candidates, learn something about them, figure out how you are going to reach them (necessary introductions) and what you are going to say.  Down the road, even look for ways you might reciprocate in advance.

For a more detailed explanation about how to network more effectively, I highly recommend the book, “Well-Connected.”

It’s Better to Give Than to Receive!

Remember the old saying, It’s better to give than to receive?  That simple expression can apply to so many  aspects of life.   

I believe it can even apply to the practice of networking these days.  We all know that networking in business circles is the rage in the quest to find contacts and leads to grow a business.   Anyone can work a crowd by going around saying, “Hi Joe, my name is Mary, I am the sales manager of XYZ.  Need any widgets, these days?”  Admittedly, such an introduction sounds a bit crass and you might not win many friends  with a line like that. I am sure you can picture the stereotyped used car salesman whose only objective is to close the sale and run.  The shortrun is all that counts in that situation.

Instead, a better strategy is to focus on establishing a rapport and even forming a bond with someone you may have only  just met.   That’s just a start.  Then, share information, offer expertise, and provide suggestions. It will should show that you are more interested in goodwill than making a quick sale.   Remember,  the saying, It’s better to give then to receive”. 

It can even apply to the management of a business web site, or blogs, Facebook and more.  The practice of  sharing helpful  information with  customers or contacts will go a long way to establishing meaningful relationships.  When used effectively, you will very likely gain even more customers and more business.

Tips at Networking Events

For most people, going into a crowded room of unfamiliar faces and having to striking up a conversation is not anyone’s favorite thing to do (unless you are extremely extroverted perhaps).  One way of breaking into a group of people already engrossed in conversation is to try to make eye contact with at least one person.  Generally, if the purpose of the event is to network,  that approach usually works.

Once you break into a group, you can always say, “I’m new here”, “gee, there seems to be a lot of new faces”,  or comment about the site of the event just to make some small talk.

A colleague of mine recently remarked that she seeks out someone who is standing alone.  Chances are that person is in the same predicament (and thinking “how do I get started)”? I think it’s a pretty good trick and I’ve tried it sucessfully myself.

When you approach one person, initiating small talk seems to be a little bit easier.  You can say, “have you been to these events before?’, “what do you think of them”, “have you been a member of this group a long time”, etc.

Lastly, once you get a conversation going with small talk, then, you can ask people questions about themselves and the company they run or represent.  From there, if you wish to share what you can offer to help them either with your job skills or the work that you do, you can say, “What do you do to market your business”? or How are you managing your web site?’, etc.

Although working a crowded room, isn’t always easy, one thing I have found is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Afterall, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Networking at Chamber of Commerce Events

You never know who may be able to direct you to your next employer.  Attending networking events at your local chamber of commerce could be a worthwhile avenue to try.  You will probably find representatives of companies both large and small.  It’s not a place where job seekers tend to flock, so, the opportunities could be wide open.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce maintains an online directory of member organizations throughout the U.S. If you happen to be located in the Denver metro area, there are quite a few chamber organizations from which to choose. Some events will require a charge but casual events after work may not.

Whenever you network, aim to engage people in conversation by either making small talk about something of general interest or, lead people to talk about their business or about themselves.  Save inquiries about jobs last and when you take the plunge, take a sidestep by asking for suggestions.  Don’t forget to look professional.

Importance of Networking in a Job Search is Validated

In my posting dated, July , I stressed the importance of networking when searching for a job. Coincidentally, The Denver Post published an article today entitled, “In This Job Market, It’s All About Networking” and no surprise, the theme is the same. Responding to job boards is OK but do spend the bulk of your time, networking.