Networking Top Tips
Networking Top Tips
Human beings are, by and large, motivated to help each other, and in our experience, this is particularly the case in successful people. They often enjoy giving advice and sharing experience with likeable, eager and appreciative young people.
Keep in mind, your priority is NOT to ask them for a job, but to learn from them! Hopefully, you will also gain an introduction with a warm recommendation to someone who will give you a job, or at least an internship.
Developing a network is like working a gold mine in the olden days; you blindly dig until you reach a precious seam. The more connections you make, the more people who will:
- Sing your praises (your fan club) and maybe give a reference.
- Give you honest feedback on your CV, other materials and your personal brand.
- Challenge you to grow as a person and steer you in the right direction.
- Introduce you to influential people in the sector you wish to join.
Where to start?
The first obvious place, once you’ve defined your target sector, is to list all your friends and acquaintances, however distant or unlikely. Your elderly aunt in Maidstone may know the mother of a Footsie 500 CEO, so try not to limit yourself.
Someone out there knows the perfect person to help you – that should be your mindset. To help you prioritise contacts, write down the likelihood of their being able to help and in what way (i.e. are they connected to the profession or environment you would like to target) and secondly how likely are they to want to help.
Then start getting in touch with them in the most appropriate way, probably by telephone or letter. Emails to people you don’t know well are more likely to be lost or disregarded. Ask those outside your target sector if they know anyone who works in the industry.
Tell those working within the sector that you are very interested in entering that field and that Jim Smith or Aunt Mary thought they could give you some useful advice. Ideally, you are asking for 15 minutes of their precious time in which to pick their brains. At the end of the meeting, ask them if they would be prepared to introduce you to other helpful people in the sector. Ask them if you can connect with them on LinkedIn.
Afterwards, write and thank them warmly – even if they weren’t particularly useful. You never know, they may remember you in some future conversation!
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash
Networking Top Tips
• Research who you’re seeing
• Look/dress appropriately
• Know what you want to find out (write it down!)
• Smile and thank them for their time
• Emphasise the connection and introduction
You and Your Background
• Explain your career objectives
• What you’re currently doing
How they Can Help
• Any advice, information and knowledge on what’s out there, the opportunities and challenges
• Request two further referrals (“Do you know anyone who might be useful for me to speak to” / “Do you know anyone in … industry who would be helpful for me to speak to”
Thank You and Follow Up
• Show appreciation and gratitude for their time
• Agree on follow-up steps and how best to keep them informed Write a follow-up email/letter with your next steps
Here are just a few suggestions to get the conversation going.
- What are the big issues facing this industry? Why do people enter this field?
- Which companies are the key players?
- What would my earning potential be in the short and longer term?
- What is the career potential?
What is the work and culture like?
- What do you like best about this field?
- What types of people does it attract?
- What motivates you? Which are the best/worst aspects?
- What skills are required?
How can I learn more? What do I need to succeed?
- What more should I be reading/learning?
- What else could I do to be a more attractive candidate?
- Do you know any companies that are currently looking for someone like me?
- What’s my best way in?
- Who else should I meet?
- Do you have any comments on my CV?
- Any other advice?
LinkedIn is a super important tool for professional networking.
Create your profile, based on your CVs. This profile is just as much a brochure about you, but with the additional advantage that you can post interesting articles about your target sector that shows your enthusiasm. Your growing network will be alerted each time you post, and recruiters in that industry will see your profile each time they do a keyword search.
…And once you’re on there, why not give Forward a follow for useful tips for career success.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these networking top tips.Forward Career Coaching specialises in helping young professionals achieve the life they want to live. If you fancy taking your networking game to the next level, or you’re just looking to fast-track your career success, why not get in touch for a free consultation?