Thursday, June 3, 2010

Networking: Tips for Job Seekers

By Laurie Berenson, CPRW

I love social media, don’t get me wrong, but the downfall of today’s social media is that it can give people a false sense of security that they are effectively networking. Spending time on LinkedIn or Twitter is a smart component to your job search plan, but in order to reap the full benefits of networking, you need to back away from the computer, pick up the phone, attend a business card exchange or other networking event, or meet up with a former colleague for coffee or drinks. In other words, network the old fashioned way, the way we networked before we became addicted to so many of these networking sites.
Here are some networking tips for job seekers –
General advice –
Talk to anyone and everyone. Don’t judge a book by its cover or prejudge someone’s effectiveness when deciding with whom to network and share job leads. You never know who someone’s uncle is. You never who their next door neighbor is. You never know what their old college roommate does.  Part of networking is a numbers game, so be sure to speak with as many people as possible about your areas of expertise and your job search target.
Specific, actionable advice –
Create a target list of companies for whom you’d like to work. Network and research these companies. When speaking with people, it’s more effective to ask who they may know at one of these companies or who they know that does a certain function rather than asking people if they know of anyone hiring. When you’re introduced to someone connected with one of your target companies, conduct an informational interview with them and ask their advice on how you could get in touch or connect with people in a certain functional area. Identify the decision makers and network your way to them. The goal is to introduce yourself to decision makers and get your background in front of them before a job opportunity arises. Introduce your expertise to the decision maker and show him/her how they could benefit from your skill set.
How to best leverage networking in your job search?
The best way is to never stop doing it! Ideally, networking is not a stop and go activity reserved for when you’re wearing your job searching hat, but that’s unfortunately how many professionals view it.  The key is to always be connecting. If you are consistently nurturing the relationships in your network, then when you do reach out for assistance during a job search phase, it will not be viewed as “give me, give me, give me” but rather as a natural opportunity to reciprocate as you will have recently helped them, provided them with leads, shared resources with them, or introduced them to a valuable contact, and they in turn will want to help you. Stop and go networking ony when you’re job searching can leave people feeling used and overlooked, without a sincere interest in helping you advance.

About Laurie Berenson, CPRW
As a career strategist and Certified Professional Resume Writer, Laurie successfully works with clients on projects related to resume development, career change and transition, job search strategy, interview coaching, and salary negotiation.  She is passionate about helping clients in career transition or career re-entry, including career changers, stay at home parents, and entrepreneurs returning to corporate America.
Before establishing her own firm, Sterling Career Concepts, Laurie began her career in investment banking and equity research and then transitioned to the recruiting industry with a national executive search firm. Her experience combines with strong academic credentials, including a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Honors from Georgetown University.

No comments:

Post a Comment