Thus far, I’ve provided tips for the application process. But how do you get noticed beforehand beyond going onto LinkedIn?
It’s so true that it can often be all about who you know. Applying for a job already knowing employees, the culture and company goals gives you a great advantage – and doesn’t have to be painful.
So let’s talk about networking. I know, just the word might make you want to scratch your eyes out with a fork. That’s why I wrote this…
Networking is NOT about asking people to do the work for you. Oregonians are friendly – but no one wants to feel like they’re being asked by a stranger to go find them a job. Approaching networking as a learning experience rather than a solicitation is not only more tactful, it creates a genuine connection.
Get smart. Classes and workshops are great ways to hone skills. Furthermore, you network naturally during these events. Join Meetup if you haven’t already – all kinds of fun groups to join, and if you’re in an “it's all about who you know” kind of town? It can really broaden your horizons.
Attend industry events, and avoid general networking events. Most general events expect you to start conversations out of thin air and cocktails. Like going to nightclubs expecting to meet your spouse, it’s possible, but not realistic. Attending industry events ensures you’ll be mingling with more than just job seekers, AND you’ll have something relevant to talk about with those you meet.
When introducing yourself, show genuine interest. Don’t start off talking about yourself. Keep things conversational, and be genuine. Overselling is off-putting. Get to know THEM!
Bring a friend! I’m a recruiter, but I still get nervous! Go with a buddy and make it social and more fun!
Follow up. I’m amazed at how many people ask for my card, but never follow up. If you’re serious about networking, connect via email or LinkedIn, and continue the conversation. * Hint: Remind them how you met. A recruiter often meets 100+ people at an event – this helps you stand out!
Get involved in your community. Volunteering can translate well into finding people who work in cultures that fit your philosophy and goals. And it is valuable experience for the resume!
Use LinkedIn. Keep your profile updated, and know its features. If you’re serious about networking, consider this a higher priority than Facebook. Just sayin’.
When you attend Career Fairs, do your homework. Learn about the companies who will be there. It’s much more impressive to me to talk with people who have researched us and have smart questions.
Turn the tables. The best way to feel better is to help someone else. Be a connector to others. What goes around comes around.
It’s not always going to feel natural to network, but remember, as in anything new, the more you practice, the easier it gets…I promise!
Have questions? Please feel free to comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn!