Networking is an important avenue to landing a new job, hands down. And the plethora of tips, tactics, and tricks to network are limitless on the Web. Just Google the term “networking” and you are likely to be inundated with information on how to do it and profit from it. My cursory search found 127 million links.
In thinking more deeply about the nature of networking, here are several ideas to get you started to make networking work for you and help you find work. So here goes:
Start a group. Many of the popular social infrastructure platforms have tools to allow you to establish groups so you can gather like minds together in pursuit of common goals, ideas, strategies, friends, or virtually anything your intelligent mind can dream up. In this case, though, in addition to virtual groups on LinkedIn or Facebook, set up an in-person lunch or dinner group whereby you get together with colleagues on a monthly basis to collaborate or discuss matters of interest. It could be a job networking group or a career management group. The benefits can be many. The key is consistency, camaraderie, and collaboration.
Work your brain. Sites like LinkedIn, Quora, Facebook, etc., have features that enable you to comment and answer questions from folks that need advice. And the questions vary widely. So pick a topic about which you may be a subject matter expert and let loose. Add as much value as your intellect will allow. Chances are good that smartly answering the inquirer’s question will be reciprocated in some fashion. Don’t expect it to be, but be aware that adding value to the knowledge stream that is the Web often times pays dividends.
Strut your stuff. “Proof is in the pudding,” as my Grandmother used to say. Put yourself in the position of demonstrating what you do well. Volunteer with a nonprofit for a task or project that gives evidence of your skills and ability. Perhaps you belong to a membership organization, where there is an opportunity to be on a committee that allows you to strut your stuff. Is writing a passion or is strategic planning your cup of tea? If so, get busy and use those skills. In the process you have a stage center role in showing what you can do. Let others see your value. Seeing is believing
Buy coffee. Yes, buy some coffee, or tea if that is your poison. Invite someone to have coffee on you. Look through your network to see if there is someone who works at a company you have targeted for employment. Write them a note, give them a call, send them an email, or even a tweet if that works for you. Go to your favorite java shop or the closest one to the object of your networking exercise. Write down some questions you have about how to network your way into the firm. Ask for advice on your job search, career campaign, or other people with whom you can ask for advice. At the same time, offer your support to them. Do they have a knotty problem that is keeping them up at night? Ask about it and offer some concrete ideas to manage the problem.
Say something nice. The Web is now crawling with platforms that let you give credit, make kudos, recommend, and say something nice about another person. They run the gambit from Klout, Kred, LinkedIn, PeerIndex Twitter Grader, Connect.me, etc. Take some time to give credit where credit is due. Make certain it is honest and authentic. Recognizing good work by good people is, well, good. It also conveys to your network that no good deed goes unrecognized. That said, just remember to never expect to be complimented yourself. Keep your expectations in check and you will not be disappointed.
Get angry. Networking is not easy. It takes a commitment to do it daily. It is hard work; that is why everyone does not do it. But for the fortunate few that have the diligence, patience, and a kind heart, networking works. And it is okay to get angry and let out some steam during the job search process. Take some time to scream, yell, and get angry. Just do it in the privacy of your own home, a deserted beach, or an empty hallway. And when you are finished, get back to networking or whatever you want to call “shining a spotlight on yourself and the value you can bring to an organization through your terrific skill set, even-keel demeanor and strong work ethic.”
Gerry Corbett is the PRJobCoach at prjobcoach.com and CEO of Redphlag LLC, a strategy consultancy. He has served four decades in senior communications roles at Fortune 100 firms and earlier in his career in aerospace and computer engineering with NASA. He has a B.A. in public relations from San Jose State University and is a member of the International Advertising Association, National Investor Relations Institute; Arthur Page Society, National Association of Science Writers, and International Coaching Federation.
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