“The challenge is the investment of time in the activity and generating results from it. After coaching north of 1,000 executives in career transition, it’s fairly conclusive that networking is a confusing, sometimes challenging, and often misunderstood set of skills. From first hand experience, here are 6 things that separate and elevate networking skills.
1. Consultative Approach
Many job seeking networkers take the preschool approach of getting in front of a hiring manager, whatever it takes, and just plopping a resume down and say hire me. Of course this process requires some finesse, so it is much better to follow the open hand philosophy that Brian Tracy talks about: think of yourself as a consultant and be prepared not to sell but to ask questions, eliminate your strong opinions, avoid the urge to offer solutions too soon, and see what positive contributions you can make to their situation. More interested like an investigative reporter than extroverted repellent like a car salesman.
2. Stop the Blind Apply
It’s incredibly mind numbing, lonely, and often depressing to interact with company application systems. Bureau of labor statistics has consistently reported that online applications can yield as little as 1% and as high as 20% response via this method. In plain English, it stinks. You spend sometimes in the neighborhood of 45 minutes, an hour, maybe 2 hours if there is an assessment, to put in an application with a 1% success rate. For evidence, read more about the Pareto principle and dedicate 1% of your time on this activity.
3. Meet Anyone and Everyone
Yes really. It’s very common that I hear stories of unlikely meetings of fate. A CEO’s niece works as a barista at the local Starbucks. Or you happened to go to your kids basketball game and meet the VP at a target company. Numbers do matter and they don’t lie, the more people you meet and communicate your message, the shorter the time out of work.
4. Memorable Branding Message
Often overlooked or even written in haste based on your resume, this message is the ice breaker, the introduction, the one shot you have to impress you audience. Who are you…and WHY are you here? Literally in 30 words or less, using word pictures and solid results-based evidence.
So many seekers get hung up on words and getting everything in when all you want is to be remembered as something in alignment with your valuable skills (not your job title). Learn more about our game changing Bankable Branding Statement in the Course Section of our website.
5. Stay on Track, Honor Their Time
Keep the conversation on track. You should be genuine and honest, and also follow simple guidelines of professional courtesy, you are in some cases interviewing in advance of an opportunity so make it count. Be prepared to ask really good questions, but don’t have an ulterior motive or agenda that could short cut the conversation. For more detail on the structure of a networking meeting, enter your email below to get our free networking checklist.
6. Have an agenda, not an AGENDA
Many times networkers walk into an informal meeting without a timeline or structure. If you want results to be spot on, then devise an agenda, in this case a series of steps and time lines to guide the conversation in the direction you wish to go. The person asking the questions has the luxury of controlling the conversation.
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Executive Career Coach | Branding Specialist
I teach self-awareness. Through a direct, pragmatic process you will be guided to the dream jobs you’ve always wanted. One step at a time, the system I provide will lead you just a little closer to your passion and purpose in life.