Although networking is important, it is only one piece in a multiple-channel job search marketing strategy. You help yourself best by working all your channels. Some other channels are:
Nevertheless, many jobs are found by being at the right place at the right time and that means a lot of deliberate networking. Some may say, “Being at the right place at the right time is all luck.” I don’t. I say it is resultant of “preparation” meeting “opportunity.”
If you are not prepared, you may have opportunities looking you in the face and never know it; or you may recognize an opportunity and not be prepared to take advantage. It’s only when preparation and opportunity meet you are likely to win a job.
Opportunity is actually a compound-variable in the equation. The other piece to “opportunity” is “time.” In other words, you can be in a lot of right places (potential opportunities) and be prepared for each, but without a crystal ball you will not know it’s the right time until you get there.
So, you must be in a lot of right places at ONE time. Implementing a strategy using multiple channels simultaneously will virtually have you in many places at one time. Equation solved! Of course everyone will say, “You were lucky.” I’ll say, “You were prepared.”
As for the networking piece of the simultaneous multiple-channel marketing strategy…
I will tell you what I tell those who have substantial networks and still suffer hard times: Make it easy for others to help you and they will. Whether you are looking to build a network or jump-starting a stalled (existing) network, here are several tips that can help:
1. Start building permanent relationships while you are still employed.
2. Become known in professional associations.
3. Reacquaint yourself with peers in other companies.
4. Push out emails to update friends and acquaintance.
5. Know yourself. What it is you stand for; what drives you; what it is you value; why it is you do what you do.
6. Demonstrate how focused you are and tell others how to help. ( i.e. leads, additional targets and referrals)
7. Be in the “know.” Know your market. Stay informed of changes and events; the flow of money and movement of people; signals of things to come (markets; companies; industries; players).
8. Have a communication strategy that captures and presents your strengths, competencies and verifiable experiences in 15 to 30-second stories.
9. Set up meetings with contacts to share your strategy and ask for suggestions.
10. Talk to your competition – a source for information that also may be looking for someone.
11. Do your homework! Take the time to understand other people’s agendas before setting up a meeting for your own.
12. Encourage brainstorming; ask open-ended questions.
13. Use simple language when talking with others. Don’t make the listener plow through jargon.
14. Be entrepreneurial! Think and act creatively. (i.e. consider joining or starting a small venture with other knowledgeable professionals)
15. Finally, call a friend and get energized before calling a contact for a meeting.
There’s plenty more on this subject. These are only some tips that hopefully will get you motivated. Whether you are employed “but looking” or unemployed and “need to look;” whether you are networking for the first time or re-energizing a current network, rebuilding past relationships and developing new ones should be a deliberate and ongoing practice throughout your career.
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