Last Monday I had the pleasure of presenting my lecture on “Can Networking Really Get Me a Job?” to the graduate student population at Pace University in NYC. The group asked some really excellent questions about how to network, everything from etiquette when reaching out to someone you don’t know, to how to leverage a relationship that you’ve already developed and built positive rapport.
I opened the talk with a couple of important statistics that simply cannot be ignored: over 70% of jobs (and some studies will argue closer to 75 or 80%) are found through some form of networking. Why is networking SO successful? Because upwards of 90% of jobs aren’t even advertised via your typical job boards, hence the term “the hidden job market”. The presentation was all about how to tap into that hidden job market through networking (and that really is the only true way to effectively do so).
With that, I left the group with a few key takeaways as far as the “how to” of effective online and face-to-face networking (and it’s necessary to mix both of those).
Top Tips for Effective Networking
Make your intention to network about creating new, mutually beneficial relationships. The first introduction is NOT the time to ask for job leads.
Approach networking with a mindset of wanting to help others, and take an interest in their success. This makes introductions and conversations less intimidating.
Set appropriate goals to get the most out of your activities (i.e. “talk to 5 people” or “make at least 1 quality connection whom I can help or can help me”). Find out who will be at an event beforehand.
Have your “elevator pitch” prepared so you can clearly communicate what type of work you do, if someone asks you how they can help.
Give people a venue to speak about themselves, which can in turn provide you with valuable insight into your industry. This is particularly useful when approaching people on LinkedIN. Remember – people like to talk about themselves, and they also like to help others.
It’s critical that you build networking into your overall job search strategy, and I will be discussing that more in upcoming posts. For some additional tips on the “how to” of effective networking, check back later this week for an exclusive video clip.
Ninety percent! That’s a sh**load of jobs out there that you’re probably not applying to. In fact, 70 of the Fortune 100 companies are active on LinkedIn. Seventy of the 100 largest companies in the world are scouring the network for qualified candidates such as yourselves- are you positioning yourself and branding yourself effectively to stand out in the crowd and get noticed? How can you work on your networking skills to speed up the job search process and start seeing better results? Start learning, and start doing. Commit to learning more about how to be an effective networker and making it a part of your job search strategy.