Here are a few tips that are really important for you to integrate into your networking to heighten your success:
1. When you are networking you are networking, not job searching. This is the most important piece of information I have for you. Networking and job searching are two different activities! You must embrace that and accept that. You are networking for information, mentoring, and to ask for additional networking contacts. If you do it right, not only will you get all these things – which can and will help you tremendously in your career search – but you will probably get “solicited” by potential employers who are interested in you and will ask for your resume. It is always the stronger position to be pursued.
2. In order to network correctly you must already have a clear focus of direction. The spirit in which so many people approach networking is “help!!!” – which neither party enjoys. When you network, do you ask your contact things like, “Is your company hiring?” or “Do you know of any companies that are hiring?” If you do, you are severely limiting that contact’s ability to help you and also putting pressure on that person, which is one of the main reasons why people hate to network. However, if you have an industry and position in mind, you can share THAT with your contact. First of all, it makes you look like you have your act together, and second, it opens up a much broader conversation that does not involve putting pressure on the person, and instead focuses on asking them for their advice, mentoring and opinions. People are generally more comfortable with these conversations and find it flattering that you would ask for their mentoring and advice.
3. When networking, say something like: “I have stepped back and looked at my career for the past 6 months and I have determined a few industries I believe would be a good fit for me. They are ______, and ______. Do you know anyone in those industries I could talk with for a few minutes to get some mentoring as I continue to research these industries?”
4. Remember that when you seek mentoring, that is all you are seeking – mentoring, information and helpful advice. If they know of any jobs, growing companies or they are hiring themselves, let THEM offer this information to YOU – not the other way around! This allows them the satisfaction of helping you on their terms and retains your dignity and increases your desirability.
5. When you are networking never, ever, ever bring your resume with you. If they ask for your resume and you have one during your networking meeting, you will look as disingenuous as you will feel. Tell them you would be happy to send it to them by hard mail or email.
If you want more information on how to network, click here to see my e-book series.