How many times have you heard that “networking” is the only way to find a job in this economy. Or that 70% of the people who are getting hired found the opportunity by “networking?” So how does this work?
Many people think of networking like a bad Seinfeld episode – obnoxious people cornering some poor guy, like George, at a party and going on and on about their great job, their sky rocketing career, their wonderful life, and, “Oh, yeah – what did you say you do?”
Maybe if people had a few simple tools in those situations, it could actually be fun. Like a simple 3 part script: (1) Hi, I’m George Costanza and (2) I enjoy helping companies see their projects completed on time and under budget, and (3) have a good time doing it!”
Or for those that are uncomfortable in social settings like this, networking also includes one on one meetings over coffee, using social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to find someone who may know someone at your target company.
In fact, this is a very effective way to get in front of a hiring manager: Identify the company you want to work for, identify the types of positions you would like to have, then if there is a position (or similar type job) posted on their website, now the fun begins.
Use the Companies feature in LinkedIn and you’ll see people in your network who may work there or have worked there. More likely there will be people who are 2nd or 3rd degree connections. By clicking on them, you’ll see who in your network is connected to them.
Then, call or email them and ask for an introduction to the person you want to meet. You’ll be surprised at how helpful people in your network are – even if you are not close to them.
Now, they have introduced you to someone who can possibly help you – offer to buy them coffee at Starbucks or at a place of their choosing and get to know them with a series of simple, but powerful questions (more on that at a later time.)
What’s the worst that can happen by doing this? You may not get any introductions – you’re no worse off than you are now, but at least you’ve taken some action. Or, you may have gotten the introduction, but no response from the target person. Again, no worse off, but at a later date, the target person may remember your reaching out.
And how hard is any of this? Do you think you can try this kind of networking? It may just land you your next dream job.
For a very concrete example of how this type of networking works, read this post from WSJ’s Laid Off and Looking blog.
JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. He is also a career and financial coach, has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations, most recently helping those in transition. His philosophy is to help others be more successful and to enjoy the benefits of meeting new people.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.
Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott