I can picture him now. Hunched over his laptop, furiously typing, re-entering the same information over and over again. Name, location, desired salary range, citizenship status, upload resume, click here, yes include a cover letter, and…. Done! Last resume sent for the day and his work is done. Now he can relax. He is the “Job Hunter” and for this blog I will refer to him as Job Hunter Henry – JHH. JHH thinks to himself “I hope this round of resume sendoffs yields some interviews and eventually my next job. After all, I’ve sent out over 250. Two or three have to stick right? They just have to….”
Hey Job Hunter Henry….. Look over here. YOU HAVE TO NETWORK!
OVER 60% OF JOBS ARE FOUND AND FILLED THROUGH NETWORKING (in-person and online). Often times, that number can inch toward 80%. So Job Hunter Henry from above has a very slim chance of truly gaining ground simply by sending over his resume.
So what does that mean you ask? Network, Network, Network….. oh, and Network.
• GET OUT THERE to networking events and join some groups. Dust off your cute blazer; print out directions, and head on over. I can see you sitting there. What are you waiting for? There are SO many great groups to join. Set a weekly/monthly goal of how many you want to attend.
• Attend those industry events that you may have never been a fan of – trust me. They’ve changed. Heck – I would even suggest volunteering at an industry event by helping to hand out nametags. Best seat in the house!
• Hand out business cards – even if they just say your name, specialty, and number. They will come in handy. And yes – your resume and portfolio should always be updated and if you have a link to some samples, have that on the card as well. (Please refer to last blog – The Proof is in the Portfolio)
• Nobody likes a wallflower. Work on your interpersonal skills. Simply attending an event but not talking to anyone will only serve to make you frustrated. Find a buddy when you walk in, chat it up, and together you will find yourself falling easily into conversation with others.
• Don’t over drink at a Networking event. It sounds like a no-brainer but I have been to many an event where I’ve seen people throwing back free cocktails only to leave with no contacts, no job prospects, and a potential hangover.
• Do your homework. Are you attending a mobile networking event? Be prepared to chat about mobile topics. Every industry has a blog/website/magazine. Scan it, and read up on some topics.
• Market yourself! BYOBM means Be YOUR Own Best Marketer. Make it your mantra. Be prepared to talk about the easiest topic in the world….. YOU! Have that 1-minute elevator pitch primed and ready. And as much as I want to know that you’re AWESOME at World of Warcraft or that you like to kayak on the weekends, remember the purpose and why you’re there.
• Accentuate the positive. Although you may have recently been part of a downsizing or you hated your old company, etc…. If someone asks you why you’re there, never answer with “Lost my job so I figured I would check it out” or “My boss is a jerk so I’m looking to leave.” ALWAYS accentuate the positive aspect – “I’m here because I’ve heard great things about this group and wanted to check it out. My specialty is Online Marketing and I thought a group of like minded folks would make a great addition to my network.”
• Utilize social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. “But I don’t get Twitter…” you say? It’s like falling off a bike – trust me. You can figure it out.
• Who do you know? Have you ever really looked into your network? You might be surprised who knows whom. Your mom may be a close friend of the mother of a hiring manager at a company you’ve been dying to check out. Do some homework. Make your net-WORK for you.
• Polish your online profiles. If you’re just out of college, chances are, there may be some photos, comments, postings, etc. that are inappropriate for prospective employers to see. Remember the basic rule – if you wouldn’t hand it to a hiring manager in an interview, take it down. (I’m talking to you Jennifer! My little sister who just graduated – YES YOU)
• Create content and engage in the community. Just having a Facebook account, Twitter, Linkedin, Spoke, etc. won’t be of much help unless you put yourself out there. Start a discussion. Interact.
So there… go. No seriously… go. Close this blog. I can see you still sitting there. Go out there and Network like you’ve never networked before. And remember this….. you never know who you’ll meet. Intrigued?