Powered by SleepingGiant
Networking…we hear this term all the time in the professional world. Everyone does it, but few do it well. With the virtual climate adding another layer of difficulty, SleepingGiant is here with another solution to help your networking be most effective!
Prior to the Networking Event
Leverage Your Existing Network
The best and easiest way to break the ice and meet people is through others. No matter how small your network is, you can always leverage it to come across new individuals.
Sending an email or LinkedIn message to someone you haven’t spoken to in a few years can seem daunting but can ultimately be rewarding. Whether it’s a friend who has graduated, a parent’s colleague, or an old professor, have the mindset that they will be delighted to hear from you.
This is even more important as you prep for career fair networking events. Use the network you have to create the opportunity for introductions to recruiters or professionals attending the networking event.
Use LinkedIn and Handshake to Your Advantage
LinkedIn is an effective way to get to know important contacts better. As you research who may be at a networking event in Handshake, using LinkedIn to learn more about this person and connect ahead of time can be a big help during the event. When reaching out, don’t directly ask for a job but rather ask for advice pertaining to the opportunity that you’re interested in.
Here’s a generic example:
Hey (Insert Name),
Hope you are doing well! I’m planning on applying for (Insert company name and role). I would love to connect, hear more about your personal experiences with the firm, and get a little bit of feedback regarding my resume and cover letter.
Looking forward to connecting at [networking event name]!
Use Your Resume as a Tool for Advice
Another easy yet highly effective way to network during a job search is to ask others who you have established a relationship with to review your resume and give you feedback on how to improve it. Using this technique is valuable for many reasons. The main reason is the person reviewing it will discover your work history, previous titles, objectives, and other things they may not yet know about you, as they are reviewing it. They may remember a company or a connection that your background may be perfectly suited to. If this person works for a company that you’re interested in, they can help you prepare your resume for any roles you may apply for or recruiters you may encounter at your networking event.
During the Networking Event
Be Efficient and Effective
Come into your networking encounter with a planned agenda. By planning out what you’ll discuss ahead of time, you establish your professionalism, you gain credibility, and have a better chance of covering all of the topics you want to discuss. Be sure to make the encounter memorable with a polished elevator pitch and intriguing questions. Have your resume ready to share and don’t forget to ask for contact info if you haven’t already connected prior.
Many people make the mistake of simply just talking too much. Remember that it’s a conversation and the point is to potentially build a relationship with the other person. However, another thing to note is that this encounter is also like an interview. You don’t want to miss any important info that could help you later on.
Pro Tip: Keep yourself on mute when you’re not talking to help eliminate background noise or echos.
Ask for Suggestions on How to Expand Your Network
One important goal of networking is to tap into the network of the person you are meeting with. Most professionals will have a network of approximately 200 more people. If you can gain introductions to some of these contacts, you will quickly increase your network and your chances of finding an extremely valuable connection. Not only this, you can begin building relationships with others at the company you’re interested in, which will allow you to be more recognizable during the recruitment process.
After the Networking Event
Following up is a very important step most people forget to do. Create a reason to keep the relationship going as this allows it to feel genuine and not forced – plus, you never know when you’ll need this connection in the future. When done right, you won’t have qualms about reaching out to anyone in your network moving forward.
Alright! Well you now officially know how to properly network. I suggest you get to work