If you’re an introvert, the last thing you want to do is be out and about shaking hands and brown nosing people you can’t stand. Even if you’re an extrovert, there’s nothing worse than “faking it” at a networking function just so you can rub elbows with the right people.
Networking is one of the best and fastest ways to land a job.
At my last job, a guy who was VERY unqualified for the position, got the job because his wife knew the manager’s wife. The manager’s wife was frustrated because her husband was short-staffed and couldn’t seem to find good help. The unqualified guy’s wife pitched him to the manager’s wife.
Managers wife: “Hi honey. You know the Browns? They live next door? They have the greyhound that keeps getting out? Yes well. Mr. Brown is interested in the job you’ve got opened. Wanna talk to him?”
Hands phone to unqualified guy.
“Hiya there! Yea I’m real good with people. I love working with people. I can start tomorrow if you want.”
And sight unseen, resume not so much as given a once-over glance, with one phone call to the manager’s husband, he was hired.
It’s fricking unfair, right? I know. And yet…the reality is….get ready to put your big girl/guy underpants on for this one…
That’s the world we live in.
So you can whine about how it is and stay in a job you hate or you can grin and bear it and find a job that leaves you satisfied. Thems the rules. I didn’t make them, but even I have to abide by them.
So how do you network without feeling like a dog poo being smeared all over the carpet? In these 5 steps, I will show you how.
The easiest and least of all complicated places to start networking is with your phone. (And if you have more friends on social media than you do in your personal phone, then you may wanna check your priorities). Go through your phone from top to bottom. Send a text to your network saying that you’re on the market for a job.
DO NOT group text.
That is lazy, annoying, and ineffective. Send individual texts. Make them personal and make them meaningful.
What’s that you ask?Why yes, my dear, I have an example you can use.
You: “Hey Lisa, how are you? How are things going?’
Wait for her to answer.
You: “Aww..cute! I’m doing great thanks for asking! Hey, can I ask you a semi-serious questions?
Wait for the answer.
You: “How do you like your job?”
Wait for answer.
You: “Well I was asking because I’m on the job market now and wanted to know if your company I should add on my “watch list”.
On and on you’ll go.
Do you see what I did there? I didn’t just jump right in and say “Hey girl. I’m looking for a job. Can you recommend me to some positions at your company?”
That’s like a guy coming up to you saying “Hey I like your face, wanna come home with me?” It’s not only impersonal but it’s very rude.
People help people they like.
And by following my text script above you’re building (or re-building if you’ve been MIA with that person) rapport, which will yield much better results than just going all in at once.
Now that you’ve sent out texts, it’s time to go through your email address book and send some emails out to peeps.
Are you like me and rarely save email addresses? (I’m so terrible at it it’s unreal!) But I DO keep emails. (My inbox runneth over). Go through your read emails and find some email addresses of some important peeps that way too.
What do you say in email? Glad you asked.
Something similar to what you did in text but all in one message. Example:
How’s everything going?
I was just cleaning out my email when I saw this old email and thought I’d reach out to see how you are. Are you still at _________ company? I remember you saying you really enjoyed your position there. Is that still the case?
Give me an update on what’s going on in your world.
Again…..Don’t try to do too much in one email. Genuinely make a connection.
Will this take a lot longer than sending a group email asking for people to keep you in mind when they see any job openings?
Yep. But…this “slow poke” way will yield you far better results.
You’ve been warned.
I’m not a LinkedIn whore like some people. I have less than 75 connections because well…I don’t like connecting with everyone I meet. (I’m not a snob, just not a networker for networking’s sake kind of woman. How I got this way is a story for another day…)
But don’t let my anti-social media ways make you believe LinkedIn is not a viable source of job leads. It is!
In fact, I’ve seen more than a few of my very own clients get jobs just because they interacted with people on LinkedIn.
The key as far as I can tell, is to treat it like my text and email rules above.
Make a GENUINE connection with people. Don’t just go in for the kill about asking for what you want.
It ain’t cool and it’s very rude.
4. Send Thank You Emails
If you’ve gone on an interview recently, it doesn’t hurt to send a thank you email to the hiring manager. Don’t write a novel. Keep it short and sweet.
I’ve done this more than a handful of times and it has generated a few second interviews and three actual job offers.
It’s definitely worth doing.
Some helpful hints on how to make this work for you:
- Keep it short
- Be professional
- Check all typos
Follow these simple rules and you should be A-ok.
5. Become A Force To Be Reckoned With
The one way to kick your competition’s butt and nab more job offers than you can handle, is to be a force to be reckoned with.
Allow yourself to shine in ways they can’t because they don’t have the skill, the ambition, or the time.
In other words, put your leadership skills on front street.
You can do this in numerous ways, but I’ll give you a few to get your creative juices flowing.
- Write industry blog posts on your LinkedIn page. Most of the people on LinkedIn simply share or like other posts written by well known magazines or celebs. Don’t let them have all the fun! You can stand out too by writing blog posts that are relevant to your own industry.
- Become apart of a committee at work. Even if you hate your job right now, you can make it more tolerable by joining a fun committee. Extra bonus points for taking the President or Vice-President role.
- Bring your outside skills inside. I’m a volunteer maniac. I love to give my time and energy to worthy causes. A great way to show leadership is to pitch some volunteer events to management. Love to write or are you really into photography? Well share those skills with your company (even if it’s free) Write blogs for your company’s inter-office website or take company event photos with your fancyschmancy professional camera. Doing things like this will give you access to people you’d never have known about before. And…as a bonus…you become known as “the photographer” or “the writer” when hiring managers are thinking of who to promote.
So there ya go. Five simple ways to land your next job without traditional networking. Which ones have you tried? What were your results. Share your experience with us in the comments below.
This article was a contribution by Shay Banks. Shay Banks is the Founder and CEO of Upgrade Your Job Search, which helps people who are bored with, tired of, or completely fed up with their current jobs, find careers that pay them what they deserve. With years of job search coaching, Shay knows how to provide career solutions that fast track you to exactly where you want to be in the next year, 2 years, or 5 years.