Networking is hard work, but it is absolutely necessary for your job search or transition. If you want a new position or a promotion, you will need to get better at networking. And here are some tips that will make networking easier.
First, be able to tell others, in about 30 seconds, the type of position that you are seeking.
This statement of purpose is generally called an elevator speech – the idea that in the time it took for the elevator to travel five or six floors, you would have 30 seconds to pitch yourself to someone in the elevator with you.
I have never known anyone who actually talked to a stranger on an elevator using their elevator speech! However, the concept is sound and the time limit is doable. Develop a short, informative speech that can change easily depending on timing, location, and listener.
Second, utilize technology as much as possible.
Your LinkedIn profile is an excellent way to build contacts with prospective employers and colleagues. Many people skimp on the information they present in LinkedIn. But here is an opportunity to honestly and authentically speak to your accomplishments.
Don’t simply attach your resume and call it done! LinkedIn has generous character limits for each section and you have the opportunity to write short paragraphs in which you demonstrate your knowledge, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving style. Don’t waste this opportunity!
Email is another great technology for networking. Use email to keep in touch periodically with everyone in your network. Use blind copies to contact a small group of your connections. A mass email will probably not get through company firewalls, so keep your address list short.
Use the email to reach out and let your contacts know what is going on in your career and that you are willing to help. Share a link or attach a copy of a journal article that will be of interest to your contacts.
Third, realize that networking is never done.
At no point in your career will you say, I don’t need to meet any other people. Throughout your career, you will have different goals and a variety of projects. The type of people that you network with will change and you will expand your network beyond the narrow scope of the finding-a-job network.
These three steps are not easy, and so for some, networking is extremely difficult. But these three suggestions will help to break it down into smaller steps that are workable so that your networking goals are attainable.