Before delving into Part II of Job Search for the Mindful Life, I suggest you go back and read Part I: Know Your Mission. ~ Jeanne
Now that you Know Your Mission, just start applying for jobs that fit your strengths and desires, right?
A whopping 80 percent of jobs never get posted, so applying for positions where you don’t have a connection is like cold calling a prospect (marketer reference)—basically not a great use of your resources.
Think back over your career. For how many of your jobs did you have an ‘in’ of some kind? For me, about 95 percent of my positions started with a connection. Your mission and strengths land you a job; your network lands you an interview.
Networking may feel fake and contrived, but not if you’re genuine and on purpose. Marie Forleo has a great video to help you use business networking in a genuine way. As Marie says,
“Networking shouldn’t be an event; it’s an ongoing organic process of building relationships with people you actually like. So you want to make it a lifelong practice of meeting new friends that you can contribute to.”
Marie provides eight tips on how to network authentically and I encourage you to watch the video before going to any actual networking events.
If you are authentic and coming from the place of your Mission, networking events can be valuable and actually fun. Meetup.com, your local Chamber of Commerce, alumni groups, and LinkedIn can be great resources to start finding groups focused on your specific area of interest.
Use your existing network—ask friends and coworkers what groups are worth your time. Track what events you go to with notes—I suggest a spreadsheet with the following categories: name of the group, summary/comments, typical meeting schedule, website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn links (we’ll get into how to leverage social media for your job search in Part IV of this blog series). A spreadsheet helps you keep your efforts organized. Continually go to groups that you resonate with even when you’re not looking for a new job.
Think of networking as what it really is—relationship building. You should be connecting with your community and building relationships all of the time.
Here are a few Dos & Don’ts for networking events:
1. Do dress professionally appropriate in a manner suited for your industry.
2. Bring business cards. If you don’t have them, a notebook or post-its will do.
3. Use a small notebook. You want to be able write notes about the people you talk with (so you can remember your conversation for the follow-up email). While you can use your phone or an iPad, I believe that using a notebook to write is more respectful and you don’t look like you might be texting or checking emails (maybe this is just me being a grandma at heart).
4. If you’re unemployed, don’t write “Looking” or “Seeking Employment,” etc., on your nametag; it makes people steer clear of you because they don’t wantsomeone hounding them for a job. Instead, write what you actually do. For example, I would write “Marketing Professional.”
5. Post-networking etiquette. Follow-up with all of your new contacts, ideally within 24 hours. Remember, this is their first impression of your ability to act in a prompt and professional way, so don’t disappoint.
Also, the sooner you follow-up, the easier it is to have a clear memory about the engagement. Your email should contain:
> Your gratitude for meeting them (remember you’re networking with purpose).
> A quick reminder of what the two of you discussed.
> A follow-up on any action items you promised or they offered (e.g., to connect you with someone, etc.).
> Next steps. Should you meet with this person again? Will you follow-up with them after another event, etc. Make a plan to reconnect, even if it’s “I’ll check in on the status of X in a month.”
> Tell them you will connect with them on LinkedIn. I know LinkedIn is not everyone’s favorite platform, but it’s a must for any job searcher.
> Track your contacts. This may be a new level of anal, but tracking your connections is important to help you follow-up with them. Use LinkedIn, a spreadsheet, or a free CRM system such as Zoho.
> Connect with contacts ideally on a quarterly basis. The whole point of networking is not expecting that someone will have a job for you today, but that you will be top-of-mind when a position opens up. We will discuss using tools like Google Alerts, RSS reader, and social media resources in Part IV of Job Search for the Mindful Life: Leverage Social Media.
Important: Don’t stop doing your homework! Stay up on the latest news and happenings in your industry—you’re much more interesting when you have something to talk about!
What did I miss? What are your best networking tips? How do you network and stay genuine and not fake?
Next week in Part III of Job Search for the Mindful Life, we will discuss the Deeper Connections that come after meeting a new connection through tools like five minute phone call, informational interviews and mentorship.
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