This month’s CareerCollectiveBloggers topic is : NETWORKING. This is a terrific opportunity to get input from many experts on this topic so scroll down to read what other bloggers write about this subject.
From what I’ve seen, most people think that networking means showing up at an event where potential employers might attend. They bring a boxful of their business cards and hand them out to anyone they can grab. Or maybe it’s about creating a LinkedIn presence and reaching out to anyone who comes up in a word search.
So tell me. When was the last time that you or anyone you know got a job that way? I’m a career coach and I’ve yet to hear such a story.
Having spent a lot of my time discussing this subject with clients and friends, I’ve concluded that networking requires one thing: the ability to build and sustain relationships. (Actually, that’s a good rule of thumb for life, isn’t it?) It doesn’t matter what your skills are, the type of jobs you’re looking for or whether you’re healthy or not. The process is basically the same.
To make this easy, I’ve designed a program, ” 3 Circles of Networking©” :
1. The inner circle are your Advocates. Start by capitalizing on your existing relationships- you don’t need a bulging contact list. Choose a select group of colleagues and friends whom you trust, who trust you and appreciate your value. Probe your Advocates and you’ll be amazed what you can learn. When you talk with each:
- Explain what you’re up to and what you’re looking for.
- Ask if they have any other ideas that you haven’t thought of.
- Find out who they know who might have ideas for you in the industry or job market you’re looking in.
- Most importantly, ask if they’ll make the introduction for you so there’s a personal connection to make sure the meeting happens.
2. The next circle (middle) are the names list your Advocates give you. They are the Connectors. They:
- Like to help people,
- Know people and your industry and,
- Are willing to make introductions to the next group for you.
Connectors really get networking. Most likely they can’t offer you a job but they’re likely to know where you should look. When you speak with them, you want to be sure to prepare your questions in advance and listen carefully.
3. Finally, Connectors will link you directly to the outer circle, Job Prospects. Now when you learn about a job, it won’t be from a list where you’re competing with hundreds of others. You’ve learned something specific about an employment prospect from the connector. And, a Job Prospect is more likely to notice you and be favorably inclined because someone he/she trusts has connected you.
You don’t have to be the life of the party to do this or even particularly extroverted. More importantly, hone these skills:
- Set clearly defined desired outcomes for yourself before you walk into a networking situation. Know what you want to get from this.
- Ask questions that will give valuable information. Know what you want to learn.
- Develop and maintain connections with people who will help you meet more people and expand your circle. Know how to stay in touch over time.
Finally, before you speak with anyone, consider whether you want to talk about illness — or debilitating symptoms you live with. If so, decide what you want to say. Even if your Advocates know you live with illness, they might not know how it impacts you and it might be important to the conversation.
For a much more detailed description about my © “3 Circles of Networking Strategy I’ve described, check out my e-workbook, “Keep Working with Chronic Illness.”
I wish you the best and hope that if you use any of this, you’ll let me know how it goes for you!
- 5 Little Secrets About Networking, @Careersherpa
- How to Take the Intimidation Out of Networking, @heathermundell
- Networking for the Shy and Introverted, @KatCareerGal
- A tale of two networkers, @DawnBugni
- Introvert or Extrovert: Tips for the Job Search No Matter Which ‘Vert’ You Are, @erinkennedycprw
- Networking for Job Candidates Who Hate Networking, @heatherhuhman
- Networking? Ugh! @resumeservice
- Network, Network, Network, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
- 3 ways to make networking fun for introverts and extroverts, @Keppie_Careers
- Grow Your Career Networking Seeds Organically, @ValueIntoWords
- Networking: It’s a Way of Life, @WalterAkana
- Social Media Networking & Your Career, @GayleHoward
- Networking for the Networking-Phobic, @JobHuntOrg
- Networking: Why Who You Know Doesn’t Count, @Chandlee