What Your Network Needs From YouBy Randy Block
How often do I hear, “I am networked out!”? Or “I hate networking!”?
By now, most of you know that the following actions provide limited (if any) results:
- Sending résumé to a friend asking them to “keep their eyes open”
- Asking your contacts if they know of any jobs for you.
- Attending networking meetings comprised entirely of unemployed people
Briefly, networking is defined as exchanging information. It has nothing to do with selling or job search. It’s about building relationships based on common interests and values.
BUT, building those relationships can work in your favor in your job search, when approached correctly.
People in your network want to knowhow they can help you. Keep in mind that a typical adult knows an average of 250 people. Quite frankly, you don’t know who people know, but you can assume they know people you don’t. Even if you only know 10 people, that’s 2500 people you have indirect access to.
Help your network help you with the following steps before you contact them:
1. Have a clear and unique personal brand. Much today is being written about personal branding. Every organization (profit or non-profit) has just 2 basic pain points that keep their leaders up at night: 1) Are we as productive as we can be? And 2) How can we increase our revenue? In today’s economy, your brand or your unique solution must be relevant to one of these two points. For personal brand development, I recommend the book Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel. (http://tinyurl.com/4ghwl7b)
2. Target a specific industry and specific market segment within that industry. Use whatever criteria works for you. Some criteria suggestions are: emerging markets such as green (solar and wind power, biodiesel, etc.), established growing markets such as health care, “hot” segments such as mobile applications and social media.
3. Make a target list of companies that you are very interested in. Criteria for these can include but not be limited to: location, size, profit or non-profit, public or private, etc.
You are now ready to talk to your contacts. Share your brand and your targets. You should ask them: “Who do you know in these 10 companies?” It doesn’t matter if there is an opening or not. It doesn’t matter if the referral is the hiring manager or someone in a completely different department. Keep in mind that like people have a tendency to refer like people. When given a referral, be sure you understand the nature of the relationship. Your close friend’s referral to another close friend nearly always results in a meeting inside your target company.The goal here is 80% of your job search time (say, Monday through Thursday) should be spent in having meetings such as those described above. Then on Fridays you can sit behind the computer all day and play the “Black Hole Cyberspace Game.”