Networking for Success

One of the topics I speak about to students and job seekers is networking skills.  They want to know where to network, who to network with, and what to say when they network- both through social media, and in person.  I am absolutely passionate about the power of networking, especially when it comes to finding a new career opportunity.

Why Network?

Survey after survey says most people find new positions through networking.  Many jobs are never advertised, so the key to this “hidden job market” is networking.  If someone you respect tells you a person they know has strong job qualifications and is of strong character, chances are you will interview them, even if their resume is average.  In addition, the more people that know you, and think positively about you, the more likely you are to hear about potential new opportunities!

How do I Network?

  1. Network during business hours

You build high trust relationships when you spend time face to face with others.  People who can help you professionally are most likely to meet you Monday through Friday.  Meet at a conference, a workshop, or even Starbucks.  Save your computer research and job searching for nights and weekends!

  1. Have a strategy-who to network with

Seek out  hiring managers, recruiters and other industry professionals in companies that you are targeting.  Connect to people who are in jobs that you would like to have someday.  Then find out where they meet (professional associations, workshops, community activities and social gatherings, to name a few). Before you attend an event, research who will be there, then set a goal to meet them.  I once secured a job interview and beforehand I researched whom I knew that also knew my interviewer.  I found two friends that knew her. One sent her an email recommendation, the other left her a voicemail recommendation for me.  I walked into the interview with a ton of confidence, knowing that I had already gotten two glowing recommendations, through networking.

  1.  Seek First to Help

If you offer to help others you will truly stand out from the crowd.  When offered help, most people respond by ask what they can do for the person who made the offer!  Many job seekers go to “networking” events to work the crowd and pass out business cards to everyone.  I once met a Business major at a college recruiting event.  I told her I was primarily seeking Engineers.  The next day, she emailed me with a referral- a friend of hers who was a Computer Engineer.  I went out of my way to offer her help the next day- critiquing her resume and introducing her to two of my Linkedin contacts.  She helped me, and I couldn’t wait to help her.

  1.  Tools

Next month, I will detail many online websites that can be used to expand your social network.  Even without sophisticated tools, it is very useful to keep a spreadsheet (or even a rolodex) to keep track of whom you have met, where and when you met, and if possible, what was discussed.  You will be perceived as professional and organized by being able to reference this information.

  1.  Tell others what you’re seeking

The more specific you are in telling others what you want, the more confident you appear and the more likely they provide you with helpful leads.  For example, if you say you want a marketing position, it may be difficult to steer you to the right contacts.  If instead, you say you are seeking an entry-level outbound marketing position in a mid-large sized company in the communications industry, you trigger thoughts of job leads and specific individuals to connect for introductions.

If you follow these suggestions, and really do “keep in touch” you will be far ahead of those who don’t make a plan for where and when they will network, and what they will say when they arrive.  You will hear about opportunities that others do not, and you will be able to take action!

9 Responses to Networking for Success

  1. Henry Sarmiento says:

    Hello Jeff,
    I came across your article while browsing Jobs at Intel. I enjoyed reading your article. I appreciate your insight. I must admit that most of the jobs I’ve had originated from a conversation at a job fair, out in town, at work, or at school. Networking did work, but it required plenty of time and effort compared to just responding to a job add.

    I’m an electrical engineer and in the process of re-tooling my skill set with embedded system design courses. The economy and technology opened the door within me to pursue an old interest of mine, embedded systems design. I’ll take to heart the insight you provided in the article and apply it to my new path of embedded systems design.

    Thank you,
    Henry

    • Jeff says:

      Thanks for the note and kind words, Henry! Best of luck with your embedded system design career!

  2. GM says:

    Step Number One in networking is: be gregarious. Learn to walk into a room full of people and talk to strangers until you’ve met a bunch of them, well enough to learn their name, teach them yours, assess what kind of person they are, what they do, etc. And learn to do this without coming off like you’re job hunting – because the connections you make are intended to be long term, i.e. the strategy is show them you’re a good person and let THEM have the idea to help you get a job someday. Networking is not some arcane social skill that is somehow different from “meeting people”; really, that’s all it is, at the end of the day.

    • Jeff says:

      I agree GM. Introverts can train themselves to be “on” in social situations, and the rewards are worth it!

  3. Cameron Merriman says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Especially with number 3, too many people forget that networking is a 2 way street. It’s important to remember that you can help no matter what level you’re at. I’ve seen so many students help recruiters at career fairs. As a student, I know the student body so much better than a visiting recruiter. Smart people often know other smart people (go figure).

    Number 5 is also useful. Intel didn’t come to my school, but Google did once, and the line to speak to the Google recruiter was nearly out the door. I was just talking to a few of the students in line and not a single one I spoke to knew what they wanted to do. All I got was “I want to work at Google because it’s a great company.” Uh…yeah, so does everybody else (Intel too for that matter). Because of the situation, the Google recruiters had to work twice as hard as all of the others and never ended up with a candidate (to my knowledge) so they didn’t come back.

    The advice goes along with the same tried and true advice of “research the company you want to work for before you apply.” For example, the students at my school should have been looking to become “nooglers” and looking for positions in “people operations.” For Intel, I’m interested in applying as a RCG to the ALP at Intel HQ in Santa Clara, but I’ll have several questions about the position for the recruiter first. Man…I can’t wait until my MBA program starts! Thanks for the great read Jeff, I love that these posts are useful for any position at any company.

    Cameron

  4. Xenia Xiao says:

    This is quite useful for me and those one seeking a satisfied jobs . Most times , we have strong ability while hidden among thousands of resumes. If we can get a briliiant recommendation, it will make your resume shining and outstanding.
    Information sometimes come from friend or acquaintances. More acquaintances you have in your target field more opportunity you will have .

  5. NARESH SHASTRI says:

    This is quite useful for me and those one seeking a satisfied jobs . Most times , we have strong ability while hidden among thousands of resumes. If we can get a briliiant recommendation, it will make your resume shining and outstanding.
    Information sometimes come from friend or acquaintances. More acquaintances you have in your target field more opportunity you will have

    • Jeff says:

      Hi Naresh, Thanks for your comment. I agree that introductions are so much easier and more effective than “cold calling”. Good luck to you!