The answer has two parts:
- Treat networking as a business project, and manage it accordingly.
- Make the goal of this networking Market Research – not simply job search.
Your career networking project
The success of any project depends not only on how good the strategy is, but on how well it is implemented.
Until now you should have been working on your career strategy. Next, launching yourself into the market with networking is the way to start implementing that strategy.
Networking means meeting people
To succeed, you must create a situation where people are happy, or at least willing, to give you their time.
To make this skill work for you, be sure your objectives in each meeting are ONLY to
- Gather information, advice and contacts (referrals), while
- Creating market awareness of your ‘brand’.
Why do you need to focus on both aspects? Because:
- You need information, advice and contacts in order to continually refine your search and your awareness of where you would like to work, and
- No one can offer you a role if they don’t know you’re there.
Remarkable things happen in the careers of those who possess the skill to do both of these things. The skill of networking can take you to just about anywhere you want to go.
Networking tip: Be an interviewer
Success in this networking requires taking the interviewer role. To do this, practice asking questions that open the door for you to sell your experience, skills and values – not simply asking about job openings. I’ll explain this in more detail in my next post.
(Note: This post continues the informal series about finding an ideal new position – please see preceding posts for more background.)