Networking has been on my mind lately. It is a key piece in finding new jobs and opportunities. I think the perception of networking is being at a party or gathering and reciting your elevator pitch. (An elevator pitch is a quick summation of you and your value proposition in the time it takes on a quick elevator ride – 30 seconds or so). Networking used be all about the the golf course – because old rich guys close deals on the golf. The golf course still exists, of course, and there are deals being done but as the face of wealth and opportunity changes so does networking.
Now everything is digital and with social media and apps, so many think that by having a website, LinkedIn or Instagram page is all you need to network. Nope, that’s not true – even if you are an app person you still have to drive viewers to your website, LinkedIn or Instagram pages. And how do you do that? Networking.
Networking Has Evolved.
Today it seems the true go getters understand that you have to network to get work – and they are not just establishing profiles and connecting online – they are turning those online connections into IRL (in real life) ones. They are doing this by paying attention to industry websites, commenting on articles and posts, connecting on LinkedIn and other social networks, joining community pages, and Linkedin Groups but then (this is the most important piece) – they are going out and meeting these online connections face-to-face! Yes good old face to face meet ups.
Meet-ups not Hook-ups.
Don’t get it twisted, meet-ups are not the same as hook-ups. If you want a network that will provide opportunities for you then you have to meet people face to face, you can do this in a variety of ways.
- You can make a connection and request a coffee or lunch date. The drawback is by inviting someone for coffee or lunch it can seem a little creepy – so I suggest that you do not lead with this strategy. Sure, you can invite someone to coffee or lunch but be sure that you have had a few online conversations and discussed an common career interests or goals. Once you’ve established a connection then an invitation to a real life meeting doesn’t seem so creepy.
- Pay attention to industry news. Most industries that I follow have conferences, day events, exposure events, and even open houses so you can stop by and meet the organizers and put a face with the name. Also pay attention media releases, like press releases, that are shared online and on the news – this way you will be aware of what’s happening in your city.
Do The Work.
Nothing is easy in life – that’s just the way it is – if it’s worthy having, it’s worth working for. With so many resume clients reporting that they found new jobs either through an old connection or a new one – I felt compelled to encourage my audience to keep looking and do not underestimate the power of networking.
Before I close, I want to share a story with you – it’s real and recent. A young lady was working as a cashier and wanted to change her life to better support her children. She wanted to be in HR. She had no previous experience in HR. She was a supervisor but that’s it. She began attending HR conferences and local event hosted by her local HR professional development association. It took three months but one day she was at an event and she went to the bar to order a drink and she struck up a conversation with one of the other attendees. To make a long story short, the women she began talking to was getting ready to retire from her HR job and was looking for a new “Associate”. The soon to be retired woman said, she didn’t care if she knew HR or not, she needed someone who was willing to learn. Now the young lady has been an HR Generalist for the past 6 months and will be a manager by the end of 2019, when the old lady retires.
Connect, Converse, Network, and Win!
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