Broadening your professional network can be extremely helpful when job searching and networking can truly aid your job search. Organising to meet key decision makers in the companies you wish to work for is a key tool to aiding your search. One meeting with the right person in your target company can save you weeks of applying for jobs through traditional means. How to make a networking strategy work for you.
Who are the people in your industry that you want to get to know, who would be able to help introduce you to the key decision makers in the companies you want to work in. What events or exhibitions do they attend or what trade associations or groups do they belong to, what charities do their companies sponsor that hold events you can attend?
Create Networking Opportunities:
Organise to attend the events yourself when these people will be there. Double check with the organisers that they will be there, make sure you know what they look like (linked in or corporate profiles can be helpful) and prepare what you are going to say!
Think about why they would want to talk to you, think about the way in which your experience or skills can benefit their company and find out as much as you can about them as people so that you can create some common ground.
Introduce yourself and make your discussion as much about them as it is about you. A good way to form a connection is to utilise their expertise! Use their professional achievements to help you. This is the perfect opportunity to ask for advice and tips. Ask if you can stay in touch and ask for their business card! If you know the company are looking to hire someone like you, ask who you would need to speak to and would it be OK for you to mention that they gave you that person’s name in your application letter?
Now that you’ve attended the event and met some key professionals, you need to follow up with them. It’s time to utilise all those business cards you gathered. Follow up promptly, so your encounter is still fresh in their mind. Link to them as soon after the meeting as you can on social media sites like Linked in, this way they are more likely to accept your request to link and then you will have visibility of their network of colleagues and managers. If you know the company is not actively looking for someone just now, make sure you ask them to let know if a vacancy that suits your skills occurs, and who the hiring manager is, so that you can send in your CV. This can be a great way to organise a discussion with a hiring manager before the role have even been advertised!
At Networking events make sure you give out your business cards because that way you are more likely to receive a business card back with the persons personal contact information. Happy Networking!
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