As I was writing Chapter 4, Networking Naturally, of my new book, “Career Sudoku: 9 Ways to Win The Job Search Game” I realized that a blog post on this topic might be a good idea. There’s so much information to share with you that I hardly know where to begin – hence the reason for an entire chapter, webinar and seminar section, devoted to it.
I’m going to dedicate this blog post to the basics, or 101, of Job Search Networking. First, it’s important to define what it is: Job Search Networking is developing relationships or alliances. That’s it. It doesn’t sound too scary when it’s defined that way does it? You’re already doing it. You’ve likely developed alliances, or relationships, with colleagues and neighbors without even knowing you were networking. Now that you know WHAT networking is…let’s address where to do it!
As soon as I say that the next question I often get is, where do I network? Great question. The short answer to this is, wherever you go. Don’t be upset, it’s true. Here are some examples of places you’re likely networking without even knowing it – and that can turn into actual job leads:
- Chatting with your stylist when you’re having your hair cut
- Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you the lobby of your dentist/doctor/vet’s office
- Over dinner with friends
- Volunteer, or participate in, a local 5K Charity race
(e.g. Y-Me race this Sunday in Chicago will have 40,000 participants)
- Talk to fellow parents at your children’s school, or social, activities
- Chat up a neighbor standing in life at the coffee shop
- Mingle over a glass of wine before your book club starts
- Bonding over beers on the golf course before you tee off
If any of these cause you anxiety or fear, think of the statistics that surround landing a job through networking.
80% of jobs are found through networking – ABC News
70% of jobs are found through networking – US Dept of Labor & Statistics
27.3% of all new hires are through employee referrals – recent industry study
In the 10+ years I’ve been a career coach, I have only had 2 clients land positions through job boards. Now, they have landed positions with wonderful companies and good salaries. Nonetheless, 2 out of 1,000+ clients is a pretty low ratio. It’s far more than 80% of my clients that find their jobs through networking.
So, HOW do you network?
The easiest way to say this is, naturally. Be yourself and be comfortable and confident. Otherwise, it shows. What you don’t do is say “I’m Frank and I’m looking for a job in sales with a leading media company.” Ick. Right? So, what do you say? You give them your UVP – Unique Value Proposition – to hook them in. When they say, “Tell me more” you follow it up with your Powerful 30 Second Pitch.
Your Unique Value Proposition is a 15 second, 1 liner that is less than 15 words. Here are some examples of UVPs:
- “Award-winning graphic designer”
- “CFO for Fortune 500 Companies specializing in mergers & acquisition deal structure”
- “National Salesman of the Year, brought in $3MM in my first 6 mos.”
Sounds pretty good, right? This is the hook, it’s designed to grab someone and prompt them to ask “Really? Tell me more” or “We should talk.” Now, give them your Powerful 30 Second Pitch.
Your Powerful 30 Second Pitch is a combination of who you are/what you do, your accomplishments and what you will/can do for them. Here’s an example:
Powerful 30 Second Pitch:
I’m Kim (Anders), a Senior Marketing & Sales Executive in the Online Media Industry. Most recently as the SVP, Sales with 360 Media I led a global team of 25 and increased annual revenue by 125% resulting in $75MM sales. (Just prior to that I was with Focus Media as the VP, Sales & Marketing where I led a sales team of 10 and carried a $30MM quota. )I’ve really enjoyed the global expansion, team management and revenue growth in the past few years and am excited to leverage my diverse experience with another senior management team.
The key to having a Powerful 30 Second Pitch is saying it naturally. How do you make it sound natural when you’re, in essence, bragging about yourself? Practice, Practice and Practice.
For more expert advice on Networking Naturally and step by step tools to build your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and Powerful 30 Second Pitch visit the 9 Ways to Win The Job Search Game.