10 Networking tips for your Job Search

March 3, 2012 | Topics: , , , | READ 0 COMMENTS & JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Looking for a job can be one of the most trying times anyone can experience particularly if you are changing career direction or new to the country and do not have a supportive network which can provide links to job opportunities. So what can you do to develop a network which can serve you well into the future? The following ten networking tips will help you not only improve your job prospects but also make interesting new friends and acquaintances.

1. Make a decision to get out of the house and meet as many new people as possible. Explore your opportunities. Join a variety of networking groups as this gives you access to the widest range of people. There are generally four types of groups: business networking groups; geographic groups, such as your local Chamber of Commerce; service groups, such as Rotary; and industry-specific associations. Attend a group at least three times before deciding whether it’s for you. Groups don’t have to carry the “networking” label to be good opportunities. What about community groups connected with schools, sports, theatres? Where do people in your target market gather?

2. Farm, don’t hunt. Many approach a networking event with the hope or expectation that they’ll make a new client from that event. You’ll find more success, however, if you view networking as a long-term process. Get clear on why you’re networking. “It’s more about farming than it is about hunting,” says Dr. Ivan Misner, co-author of Masters of Networking and Founder of BNI, a well-known international business networking group. “It’s about cultivating relationships with other people.”

3. Don’t forget your networking “accessories.” Business cards and a name tag. Use good quality card stock in a white, ivory, grey or other classy shade that matches your resume paper. State your name, title, industry and area of expertise. Indicate your contact number and your e-mail. The card is an essential tool for exchanging your basic information with new a contact and it eliminates searching for a pen and a piece of paper. On your name tag, include not only your name but what you do as well. This gives others an easy starting point for conversation. In addition, make a habit of writing notes on the back of each business card you receive from someone else so you can personalize your follow up calls and emails.

4. Have your “elevator speech” prepared. When you are employed and some asks you what you do, you know how to answer. You work for this company in this role doing these tasks. When you are unemployed, what do you say? “I’m looking for a new job.” Well, you could. It just isn’t the best use of the opportunity. Create a 30-second to 1-minute story. Very briefly state what you did, what your expertise is, where you’d like to go and what you can bring to a potential employer. For example, “For 5 years I was the Manager of Operations for ABC Company. My focus was on ___, ___ and ___. I am now interested in working for a ___company in the ___field, such as XYZ Co or DEF Co. My expertise in ___ will be applicable to their ___ division or product.” Be positive, enthusiastic and open to suggestions.

5. Get curious. First, be genuinely interested in the people you meet. Ask questions that aren’t limited to someone’s profession. For instance: What is one way you have fun at work? What is something that makes you special or unique in your industry? Such questions open up conversation and encourage connection on a more personal level.

6. Offer referrals whenever possible. Often, those who gain the most at networking events are those who give the most. Focus more on what you can give to others than on what you’ll get from them.

7. Be scrupulous with your follow up. Meeting people is just the beginning. It’s the follow up that turns connections into relationships.

8. LinkedIn Profile. This is the #1 professional online network and millions of people around the world are members. Their professional profiles listed, where they work, where they used to work, what schools they attended, what professional and educational groups they belong to and recommendations from former co-workers, clients and associates. There is a lot of information available from a professional profile that can be used to expand your job search, contact people, identify new companies of interest, find groups of like-minded people and even help you create your own profile.

9. Success Stories. Everyone has accomplished something in their work. You need these stories to demonstrate your ability to problem solve to a potential employer. Show them how you identified the circumstance, what conduct you chose to address the concerns and what the conclusion was. This simple strategy can be very impressive and says a lot about you, the way you work and what value you bring to the company.

10. Plan your Activities. You’ve heard the expression that “looking for a job is a full-time job.” Work usually incorporates various activities: computer work, meetings, phone calls, paperwork, research, projects, client interactions, follow-ups, reports. It also may include prospecting for new clients, selling a product or service and closing deals. All of these elements are present in your job search. You need to research companies of interest, prospect for contacts, create informational meetings, uncover opportunities, speak with company representatives, present your materials, sell your abilities, follow up and close the deal. In order to start fresh, motivated and involved, you must have a variety of activities every week to keep you moving forward. It is also important to give yourself a day off occasionally. One final activity – once a week, try on your interview clothes to make sure they still fit! You’ll be glad you did!

For more information please contact Rosie at Positive Goals & Solutions today for an exploration of what’s possible for you.  Mobile 0414 511 455

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