Here’s another installment on everyone’s least favorite topic, networking.
Last time, we talked about ways to start networking if you don’t know anyone…actually, if you’ve gone through your contact list a few times to no effect, it can feel like you don’t know anyone, so you can apply these same things in order to jumpstart the process.
Saying hello and introducing or reintroducing yourself is what stops most people…being socially forward doesn’t come easy to everyone, and when you add the pressure of a job search, you can double clutch and stop yourself dead in your tracks.
The first thing you have to do is get that mind of yours right. No matter whom you are, what you do, or what has happened, you are a person of value, with something to offer. Hold your head up and know that you aren’t inferior just because you need a job.
Before you ever started your search, you should have already written out a value statement about yourself, which would include your name, your field of research, and a few bullet points about who you are and what you do that position you as belonging to the group.
Here’s where most people screw up – upon introduction, they talk too much right off the bat…they recite their two minute pitch, or elevator speech or summary of qualifications, and they make the other person’s eyes glaze over. And they keep repeating this with everyone they meet.
Your homework assignment: get some books written by Dale Carnegie, and learn how to converse with people.
The idea is to commit your “pitch” to memory, and rehearse it… but when talking, you dole out a little at a time…while you are ASKING questions and LISTENING to their answers… have some good questions ready about their world, their research, their plans, and their “take”.. be interested for real and try to learn, and the walls that people reflexively put up will come down…when you understand the other persons “take”, you can then offer yours and see if there is some connection and harmonization.
Having one or two “open ended” questions ready after you introduce yourself will go a long way towards making a new contact that will want to keep conversing with you.
Commit this to memory – relationships first, job offers second. You need to get to know, before you can ever “become known”. Once you become known, opportunities can be revealed.
A very important part of the equation is “giving value before you ask for stuff in return.”
This isn’t as hard to do as you might think. Keep abreast of trends and happenings in your industry, and have a “take”…have insights, (but first) ask people what THEY think of what’s going on…then offer what you have…this is called “being pertinent and interesting”, so you can be seen as someone who belongs… it does no good to talk up how hardworking, enthusiastic, or well-connected you are, unless the folks you are speaking to can see that you care about them and their world.. along the same line of thinking, it does you no good to ask them to help you look for work, before they understand you care.
Also, offer to help them first…if they are seeking knowledge or insight, and you can be of value, put them in touch with someone you know who can advance their cause…you have to remember, you must always give before you get…call it sowing and reaping, call it karma, call it whatever, it’s for real…the more you can help people get what they want, the more they will want to help you get what you want.
I know this is new territory for some of you, especially my introverts out there…take it slow, and practice…the only way to get good at this is to talk to as many people as possible and learn… as a wise man once said; “anything worth doing is worth doing badly until you get good at it”.
Until next time, I wish you all the best.
Thomas Patrick Chuna is a certified Five O’Clock Club job search coach.
The Five O’Clock Club is a nationally recognized outplacement firm with a proven job search methodology that helps job seekers get better jobs faster.
The Five O’Clock Club also provides affordable, humane outplacement services to companies who care about the wellbeing of their employees.
Tom is also an experienced independent recruiter specializing in molecular oncology research scientists & MD’s.
Learn more: http://www.fiveoclockclub.com http://www.patrick-international.net