5 Top Networking Tips to Help You Land a Job
1. Use your network effectively.
The best way to find a job is through the people you know, and through the people they know. Reach out to your friends, colleagues, former bosses and co-workers, dentists and doctors, hairdressers, dance teachers, training partners and pet sitter. You never know where your next job lead will come from. Contact people individually, and meet as many as possible in person. [bctt tweet=”Emails are fine for scheduling phone calls and meetings, but don’t rely on an email to do the job of finding you a job.” username=”fireballdeena”] If a meeting isn’t possible, or will take more than a few weeks to schedule, use a phone call or video call (facetime, skype, what’s app, etc). You will get better advice, insight and results from a conversation or video chat than through email or text. Be specific and strategic: tell people what type of job(s) you’re looking for; ask who they know in specific companies, locations, or industry sectors; and ask for advice, warm introductions, and information interviews with people they know and respect.
DON’T do this:
DON’T send a mass email to your contact list, using cc instead of bcc, where everyone in your network can see everyone else’s email, and almost everyone will hit reply all. Don’t send a generic message like this: ‘Hi everyone, I’m looking for a new job in advertising. If you hear of anything, let me know. Here’s my resume – please forward it to anyone you know who can help.’
Do send an individual email, with your job search goal, a brief explanation, an offer to reciprocate, and a request to meet, with a few specific date and time options. Do send a message like this: ‘Hi Anne, I’m reaching out because I’m looking for a new job as an advertising account representative at one of the larger agencies, such as xyz companies. Given my experience and passion, my dream job would be to manage
beauty product accounts. I’d like to schedule a 15 – 20 minute meeting at your office to tell you more about my job search, and find out who you many know in the industry. I’d also like to find out how I can help you, or help anyone else in your network in any way.
How’s next Monday or Tuesday morning, or Thursday afternoon for a meeting? (I’ll bring your favorite blueberry muffins 🙂 Thanks so much.
Signature (see below!)
2. Promote your professional brand in every interaction.
To stay memorable and promote a clear, consistent brand, I recommend a professional email signature for ALL yourdevices – not just your laptop or desktop. Most people read emails on the go, on their smartphones and tablets. “Sent from my smartphone” is a waste of words and space. Don’t make people guess who you are and what you do. Make it easy for someone to forward your request to their contacts, and make a great impression. Your email and device signatures should include:
- First Name and Last Name (if you have a common name, include your middle name and or initial)
- Email: lastname@ ___.com (NOT Lisa212@yahoohoo)
- Cell: 1234567890
- LinkedIn Profile URL: Customize it: get rid of the unnecessary string of letters and numbers after your name
- Optional: Twitter and other relevant social media accounts – if you use them regularly for professional reasons
- Optional: include three or four words or phrases such as Senior Project Manager, Six Sigma, LEED Certified, P.E, Speaker, Author
3. Leverage LinkedIn to support your in-person networking.
Online networking is a critical tool to support your in-person networking. Check out the 1st and 2nd degree connections of the people in your network. Ask your contacts to make warm introductions to their contacts. My friend (we’ll call her ‘Lisa’) asked if I knew anyone at a high- profile company. I checked my LinkedIn contacts, and although I didn’t know anyone directly, I discovered a mutual connection with the head of the very department Lisa wanted to work for – and that connection was Lisa! It took me less than 60 seconds to find this link using LinkedIn. We were both thrilled with the results, Lisa realized that she should use LinkedIn more effectively, and I got a helpful story for this article.
4. Update your LinkedIn header, summary and profile.
Update your professional presence on LinkedIn (and any other social media you use).
A strong, descriptive LinkedIn profile is critical to articulate your skills and interests, promote your brand, and stand out in the crowd. A headline is defined as “a heading at the top of an article or page in a newspaper or magazine” noun, or “appear as the star performer at (a concert) verb. (Source: Dictionary.com). You are the star of your career and you need to shine. Your headline should be eye-catching, and revealing.
Jane S.: project manager, does not tell a hiring manager (and anyone else) much about you. You need to specify the types of projects you manage, industry, sector, size, location, and any other relevant variables.
Jane Q. Smith: Six Sigma, PMP, Senior Project Manager for Financial Technology Software, Strategic Advisor to Startups, Board Member. And now Jane has effectively used 119 of the allotted 120 characters in her professional headline to promote her professional brand. Her header is unique, detailed, and powerful.
Your summary needs to be longer, and should include a combination of skills, positions, accomplishments, phrases, data, and bullet points. Your summary should articulate your specific career focus, past and recent accomplishments, job interests, volunteer work, and the skills you bring to the table.
Don’t simply toss your entire resume into LinkedIn and forget about it. Do review your job history, and add relevant bullet points for each position; and review and update your contact information, and website links. Add your volunteer work, professional associations, publications, education, honors, and awards. Write articles, post updates, join groups, and follow your industry leaders and icons. Check out the profiles and posts of people you admire, people you want to work for, and the profiles of your peers. Notice what grabs your attention, both positive and negative. Take the time to learn how to use LinkedIn, check the help section, and ask friends for feedback and advice.
5. Choose your volunteer activities strategically.
Volunteer work is a wonderful way to find a new job and to move ahead in your career. It’s also time-consuming, and we all have busy lives, so it’s important to be strategic. Choose non-profit organizations and professional associations that you are passionate about, and that your ideal employers, clients and/or industry support. Get involved: join committees, offer to chair or co-chair a committee, or volunteer for a special event or project. These activities give you the chance to show off your existing talents, learn new skills, meet industry leaders, and make new contacts. And be sure to network beyond the cocktail parties and educational panels: schedule information meetings and/or networking meetings with other volunteers, members, board members, and committee leaders, to build meaningful long-term relationships. Investing quality time into these activities will pay off. [bctt tweet=”Volunteering is an excellent way to develop your network, show your value, learn about different career paths and opportunities, and to give back and do good.” username=”fireballdeena”]
You’ll be more effective and confident in your job search when you know what to do. There are right ways and wrong ways to leverage your network, to promote your brand, to use social media, and to choose volunteer activities. If you’re not sure what to do in a particular situation a) read the Fireball Network blog for more networking and career advice b) submit your questions to our new advice column, “Dear Fireball”, and c) contact us for a free consultation about our career coaching services.