Most informational meetings and job interviews come from networking and direct-contact efforts, according to The Five O’Clock Club’s research. So why waste your time on job boards and search sites when you could be focusing your efforts on more promising strategies? Let’s take a look at some networking best practices:
Start with Stage 1 Contacts
Your network may be larger than you think. Stage 1 contacts are all the people who know and care about you. This includes former bosses, peers, subordinates, friends, family and neighbors. From there, you can move on to your social media networks, your college alumni organization and database, and other professional associations.
Know Your Targets
Ask for meetings with contacts who can provide feedback on your priority target companies. Reach out to people in your network who can influence a hiring manager or other influential person at any of your targets. Your goal is a warm introduction or permission to use their name when you introduce yourself.
Keep In Touch
Once you’ve developed a solid network, it’s important to track and maintain it. Reach out to someone when you come across one of their contacts. Keep an eye out for articles or links (business or personal) that specific people in your network would enjoy. As a rule of thumb, connect with your important contacts every three to six weeks.
Be a World-class Networker
Networking is all about life-long relationships, so concentrate on both business and personal. Take the time to ask about family and personal interests and take notes wherever you store your contact information. Think about it this way: aren’t you impressed when someone asks how your daughter’s soccer tournament went?
Avoid Networking Mistakes
The number-one networking mistake is simply not following up. Be sure to stay organized and don’t let any of your contacts fall through the cracks. Additionally, when you meet with a contact for the first time, don’t forget to offer to share your network. Make the meeting worthwhile on both sides.
Take an active approach to your job search. Get in touch with the right people when you understand the power of networking. Contact The Five O’Clock Club with additional guidance in your job search!