Agenda and objectives • Understand what networking is and why it is important • Learn how to network for job search and career exploration • Know yourself and what you want • Define and expand your target market • Effectively communicate your brand • Build productive networks • Keep it going • Understand how to deal with difficult people/situations • Hear what your peers say about networking • Learn guidelines for successful networking
Networking well is a key part of career exploration The Job Search Process Defining and Expanding Your Target Market Effectively Communicating Your Brand Building Productive Networks
Networking means building relationships Networking defined: • Networking is both a formal and informal process of meeting people. • It involves both giving and receiving help, information and advice. Reciprocity and generosity are essential to good networking. • In U.S. business culture, networking is a common, accepted, and essential method to use as part of your job search. Examples: • Talking with a professor about opportunities in your field • Asking your friend for a restaurant referral • Providing your classmate a recommendation to your trusted mechanic • Asking an alum about the company for which she is working • Talking with your cousin over dinner about her job, which sounds really interesting Networking does not mean asking for a job!
Networking gives you knowledge and advocates Goals of networking: • Gather information about industries, functions, companies and job opportunities • Understand the job search process for your target market • Market yourself to key people in your field • Identify relevant skills and experiences you’ll need to be successful • Gain advocates • Receive career advice Research shows that 70-80% of jobs are found through networking your job search strategy should focus on networking as one of the primary vehicles for finding a position
The networking process starts with understanding yourself, then communicating with others • Know yourself and what you want • Identify target market • Share your story: effectively communicate what you can offer and what you are seeking • Identify people to contact • Arrange meeting (i.e., an informational interview) • Conduct meeting • Follow up/thank you/keep in contact
1. Know yourself and what you want • What fields/functions are you interested in? Why? • What industries and/or geographic locations would you prefer? • What type of work environment do you prefer (think about size of company, corporate culture)? • What skills and experience can you contribute? • What is your competitive edge? • What are your short-term and long-term professional goals? • What information do you still lack that you would like to know?
2. Identify your target market • Defining a target market helps focus your time and attention • What companies fit your criteria? • Industry • Size of organization • Organizational structure • Geographic location • Corporate culture • Degree of team interaction vs. individual work • Employees’ mobility within the company • Organization’s tolerance of risk-taking • Others….
3. Share your story – with anyone • Communicate what you can offer and what you are seeking • Practice your positioning statement or 10-second introduction • Be ready to do this in unexpected settings • Be interesting! • Your story is more than a list of accomplishments or experiences • What do you like to do? What do you find exciting, interesting, compelling? What problems do you like solving? What prompted you to return to school? What kind of people motivate you?
4. Identify people to contact • Reference lists of industries/companies that interest you • Brainstorm on paper how to identify contacts in industries/companies of interest • CARS alumni database • Professors • GBCC career coaches • Classmates • Family members • Others? • Ask for additional contacts during meetings • Keep track of contacts
4. Start with contacts you know best, who can refer you to others Alumni, mechanic, hair stylist, acquaintances, et al. Person getting popcorn ahead of you at the movies Person next to you on the bus Close friends, family, et al. Classmates, co-workers, professors, et al. Distant relative you meet at your family reunion A friend of a friend of a friend…
4. Your “strong ties” will lead you to “weak ties” • “Strong ties” are your family, friends, those you know best. They’re valuable because they know you well and can refer you to others. • “Weak ties” are your second and third layers of contacts, which you find through referrals. These people are valuable because they don’t know you in a particular role – so they can see you how you want to be seen, and can imagine more possibilities. They can also refer you to their own networks. Weak ties are often the most useful contacts in a job search!
5. Arrange meetings and prepare so you can best use your and other person’s time • Contact person via email or phone – either is fine • Email allows you to describe your background a bit more; gives the other person time to respond • Phone calls are effective because they’re a more immediate way to reach someone • Draft formal business email • Prepare script prior to phone call • Voicemail and conversation • State your interest, brief qualifications, and what you are seeking (e.g., a 20-minute meeting)
6. Conduct meetings • Before the meeting • Research company - use company research worksheet • Identify goal of meeting • Develop agenda and list of questions • Dress as you would for an interview (or appropriate to the setting) • Practice your positioning statement
6. Conduct meetings • During the meeting • Be conversational, but stay with your agenda • Listen actively • Keep track of the time and stay with the time limit you proposed • Thank your contact! • Ask for recommendations of additional contact(s), and say, “May I use your name when I contact these people?” • Request contact’s business card • Clarify and re-state next steps (“I’ll send an email to ____, and I’ll let you know how our meeting goes.”)
7. Make sure to follow up immediately after a meeting, then occasionally to keep your contacts updated • After the meeting • Send a formal thank you note (email is the fastest; handwritten note shows extra care and attention) • Follow up on any actions you discussed at the meeting • Keep person updated on your progress • Send an email or a voicemail occasionally; provide your status and ask additional questions as necessary • Provide information your contact may have interest in (for example, forward an article regarding a trend in your field)
Use a spreadsheet, database or paper list to keep track of your contacts • You’ll want to remember: • Whom you have contacted • Date(s) of meetings or communications • Methods (e.g., email, meeting at company X) • Referrals • Next steps • Your actions • Completed items
You may encounter difficult people/situations • Contact never calls/writes me back • Be persistent and patient – try 2 or 3 polite communications before giving up • Communicate what you can do for the contact • Mention referral or association • Assess how critical contact is; you may have some other people who can help you with the same information or questions • Contact doesn’t forward my resume as promised • Take action – ask how you can forward your resume yourself • Contact provides no helpful information • Thank them for what they do provide • Realize that they’re still more helpful than you think, and they’re worth keeping in your network
What Carlson students say about networking Networking is…. • “meeting people in order to gain advice and information…it is a system of bridges and connections that provide a web of information” • “creating and maintaining relationships with people who can help you in the future” • “getting to know people and help others, opening yourself up to new ideas and opportunities” • “accessing resources you are unfamiliar with and providing you with a safety net”
Guidelines for successful networking • Anyone can be in your network • Networking is information • Get to know your network • Know what you want to tell your network • Know what you want to find out from your network • Keep your network informed of your progress • Networking is not job hunting • Networking is giving and receiving • Networking never ends • Enjoy it!