Here’s the truth:
Most people don’t know how to network.
They either don’t do it at all — or do it with no real plan or strategy.
You already know job networking is important.
It’s ESSENTIAL to not just getting a job — but also building your career.
If you want to be effective at job networking.
And I mean truly effective…
You have to put together a plan.
Here are 5 proven steps you can follow to put together a job networking plan to land your dream job.
First — you have to figure out WHY you’re networking in the first place.
You’re probably thinking “Duhhh, to get a job.” but that’s not enough. Because if you’re trying to meet someone who’s going to give you a job — that’s probably not going to happen.
You need to form a strategy. And the first part of that is figuring out your networking goals.
Whatever your goals are — figure them out and write them down.
Once you’ve figured out WHY you’re networking. You can then figure out WHO you should be networking with.
If you’re trying to meet people — you should be looking at networking events, conferences, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, networking video calls, etc…
If you’re trying to learn more about your ideal position — you should be looking for people with your ideal position.
If you’re trying to learn more about a certain certification — you should be looking for people with those certifications.
If you’re trying to create connections in a certain company — you should be looking for people in the company that works in your ideal department.
Note: I don’t recommend you seek out the person doing the hiring unless — you want to work in HR.
Now that you know WHO you should be networking with — it’s time to find their contact information.
The top 2 ways to find someone’s contact information is:
Most company websites have a list of all the staff and sometimes even their contact information right next to it. If their contact information isn’t listed, just search them up on LinkedIn and see if their email is listed somewhere.
If the company website doesn’t have its staff listed, you can also search the company on LinkedIn and look at the people who work there.
Just search the company name in the LinkedIn search bar. Click the company. Click “See x employees on LinkedIn. Then just find your person of interest.”
Once you have their contact information, now it’s time to reach out. This is the part most people are afraid of. But you HAVE to get over your fear.
You can reach out through email, LinkedIn, or even both. Whatever you do, you want to be as human and genuine as possible. Nobody will respond if they think you’re just a robot. Or if they think you’re just copying and pasting a message.
The message needs to be personalized, short, and genuine.
Here’s how I recommend structuring them:
1. Greet them
Obviously, say hello before anything else.
2. Genuinely connect
Relate a common interest or give them a genuine compliment.
3. Who you are
Let them know who you are and how you found them.
4. Why you’re reaching out
Give them a brief overview of why you’re reaching out.
5. Offer something in return
Offer something in return like a virtual coffee, lunch, etc… (they’ll probably decline anyways.)
6. Give them an out
Always make sure to give them an out. The last thing you want to do is pressure them in any way. It turns people off.
An example out could be:
“Are you the right person to be talking to? If not — could you point me to someone that might be able to help me?”
This way, if they don’t want to talk with you they can still help you out in some way or another.
7. Thank them
And of course — THANK THEM FOR THEIR TIME.
A lot of people will send a message, not get a reply — and get discouraged. DON’T DO THIS. People are really busy. Just because they never got back to you, doesn’t mean you did something wrong.
As hard as it is — don’t take it personally.
Just roll with the punches and keep going. It WILL work out. You just need to be patient and persistent.
After you talk with someone — make sure you follow up!!!
Send them an email reminding them of your conversation. If they said they’d do something for you — make sure to remind them. There’s a 95% chance they forgot.
If you’re not already — connect with them on LinkedIn. Also, make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and up to date, this is the perfect time to impress someone!
This article should give you enough to get started. But I do recommend you complete the following resources to really excel in your job search.