Ok, just so everyone is on the same page here – networking is important imperative. I’ve heard numbers stating only some minuscule percent (ranging from 20% all the way down to 5%) of jobs are gotten by applying for them, the rest are all given to people who know people. Even if these numbers are bogus and its only half of the jobs out there are gotten by knowing someone in your target company, who wants to cut their chances of landing a job in half?
And especially in these frugal times, companies cannot afford to use sources like Monster et al, even when they have a job to fill. They are turning to people who they know, or people who those people know.
So networking is a skill you need to develop. There are a lot of resources for learning how to do it if you don’t already have it in your personal toolbox. For instance, last Friday, guest speaker Tim Wright gave a great presentation at LaunchPad Job Club about what he called “Renegade Networking”.
You can download his presentation, but in brief, he said that just swapping collecting business cards is ineffective networking. Networking can serve a greater purpose than planting job seeds that may never germinate, or finding prospects to sell your wares to. While I’ve given tips on networking tactics, Tim’s presentation was more about strategy, and applying that strategy, primarily focused on things to do before going to the networking event, except the last, which was to give yourself an evaluation afterwards on the things you had planned in advance.
- Before you go, know your purpose!
- Know your goals.
- Know your follow-through actions (before you go!)
- Think of yourself as a questioner – seek knowledge about the people you talk to
- Practice questions that invite detailed answers
- Practice asking questions that invite questions in return
- Practice comment points – things about answers to your questions that you can comment on
- Know (and apply) the value of “You” – express interest in the other person
- Prepare your energy
- Warm up
- Give yourself a score afterward – how well did you do? Grade your performance, don’t degrade it!
As I said, his presentation was great, both engaging and full of great ideas. If you are still unsure of how to execute your networking strategy, there are a lot of other free tips and resources for honing your networking skills out there. And if you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know I love the word “free” (I bet you do too).
But sometimes you may need more than articles to read and some free tips. If that is the case, I suggest Connection Camp.
Kim Brushaber, who puts on the terrific monthly BridgeATX networking events, is putting on two networking skills classes in August. One is aimed at the executive jobseeker (and is executive-ly priced), the other is aimed at the average jobseeker, and is more modestly priced.
First up is the Job Seeker Connection Camp, two 2-hour class sessions. The first class session, August 11th from 2PM – 4PM, will help attendees to define the companies and the people that they need to be talking to in order to make their job search successful. The second class session, August 18th from 2PM – 4PM, will help them design messages that will help them to open the conversation with those companies and people. Kim says she is guaranteeing that people are going to walk out of this class with valuable connections to aid them in the search.
First the bad news – the class is not cheap. For the four hours, the price is $200. Now the good news – For LaunchPad members, she’s giving a 10% discount. I know it’s not a lot, but every little bit helps, right?
The Executive Job Seeker Connection Camp is similar to the Job Seeker Connection Camp, but geared more towards executive job seekers. Job Seekers and Executive Job Seekers have different hoops to jump through in order to make valuable connections. This class focuses more on the issues that executives confront in their job search. The Executive course is, as I said, a bit more expensive at $500, but it includes 6 hours (over 2 sessions), plus 2 hours worth of individual one-on-one contact coaching. The schedule for this class has not yet been set, but the 10% discount also applies to this class as well.
How do you get the discount? When you sign up for the class, enter “LPJC” in the Coupon Code.
I’ve been to several events put on by Kim – the monthly networking events are always great, and I got a lot out of the Get Hired seminar put on by Kim and the folks from Network In Austin and Cardboard Resume back in May. Kim knows her stuff, and, more importantly, she knows people, and she knows people who know people. If you feel like you need a little more than an hour of free strategy tips to get your networking to be an effective part of your job search, I recommend that you sign up for Kim’s class.
OK, full disclosure time:
I consider Kim to be a friend of mine, so consider my opinion biased. I like her a lot, I think she’s a great person, and has a lot to share about learning how to get a job, and can do a lot to help you make the contacts you need to make it happen. I’d let everyone know what she was up to even without financial incentive.
So when she asked me to let people know about her classes, I turned down a 10% commission on everyone I get to come to the class. Instead I asked her to give everyone I got to go to the class a 10% discount. Financially, it doesn’t make a difference to her, but I know it does to you, and I know she wants to help people, so she was glad to make the deal.
But she has invited me to attend the class as her guest, so I do need to make you aware of that, in the spirit of full disclosure.
Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.