If you are looking for a job, you probably know that one of the most effective job search techniques is networking. But to get the most out of networking, you need to have a strategy, to take a planned approach.
Calling people in a haphazard way, without doing some hard thinking about who you are going to call, when and what you are going to talk about will only result in you spinning your wheels and missing valuable opportunities, says career strategy specialist Bill Barnett, who adds that you need to think strategically.
The first thing to do is to get moving. Don’t overanalyze the situation, or allow your reservations or fears to get in the way. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to prepare more, or wait for the best time to call – there is no best time.
Things usually take longer than you think they will. The people you call may not be able to get back to you right away because of their schedule. So, Barnett says, don’t wait, begin now.
Barnett says when you begin calling, first call people you know the best. This is the best way to get off to a good start. You can test your pitch on them – test out your presentation of your personal brand and the skills and accomplishments you want employers to associate with you. And these people can give you ideas as well, names of other people to call, other things to emphasize, or not emphasize, for example.
Then, as you become more confident in your direction and your delivery, you can branch out to people whom you have not met to begin testing the waters about what opportunities are available. You can start doing some networking through social media, as well.
Next, you want to consider which companies to approach first. Do you want to start with the ones you really want to work for, or do you want to begin with companies a little further down on your list? It might seem like common sense to go with the companies you really like first, and that might be the way to go because you allow more time for job openings to occur at those places.
But starting with places not so high on your list has advantages as well, such as allowing you to hone your delivery before you approach your high priority companies.
So, when networking, the order in which you contact people and places, and the timing of your calls, matters as much as whom you call.
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