I’m obsessed with networking. Mostly because I know how valuable it is, but also because I just don’t like to do it.
It’s a total love/hate relationship.
Love because I’ve gotten so many opportunities from ALL forms of networking. Hate because I wish networking wasn’t so important.
So I’m always on the look out for networking ideas that suit my introvert self but that work. Which is how I came across Michelle Warner’s Networking System. She developed it based off a networking course she took in her MBA program and uses it to build her businesses through the creation of a referral network.
I saw some amazing potential in this system immediately, the same night that I heard about it I told my clients about it. They needed this in their lives.
But I also knew that it wasn’t perfect for job seekers, so I worked on tweaking it to make it more relevant. I wanted it to be easy, push us a little out of our comfort zone and take almost no time at all.
Once I had it all figured out, I wanted to get it out to the world. So I hosted the Networking Challenge over in the Career Networking Group on Facebook. I went Live each day to talk about the day’s challenge, I posted ideas and sample emails (come join the group to get them).
It all boiled down to this:
5 days. 5 minutes. Advocates Galore.
Monday: Be Thankful
On Monday, we sent out emails to say “thank you”. We did this to old colleagues, managers or even someone we didn’t know.
We told them why we were thankful and how their advice/tool/resource had a positive impact on our careers.
Tuesday: Offer Help
This day was about generating good will and getting comfortable emailing. One thing I’ve noticed in my years in recruitment and career coaching is that saying yes and offering help always yields positive results.
Plus, a common thought that prevents or scares us off from networking is the thought that the person on the other end will feel like we are asking too much or being a burden. But by offering help, we take that fear away.
We offered help to new grads, other job seekers, sending information/articles and even connecting people.
LinkedIn networking is important. It tells the algorithm that you are active (making it like you more) plus it increases your network and name familiarity.
Now this day wasn’t about easy engagement, just hitting like or commenting on a friend’s post on LinkedIn.
It was seeing a post, having something to say but feeling a little sick at the notion of it. It’s about being scared to do it but doing it anyway. That’s a great habit to develop with networking.
Thursday: Ask for Help
On day 4, we pushed ourselves a little bit more. We chose someone we know (friend, colleague or old manager) and sent them an email asking for some of their time. A chance to reconnect, gather some information and ask for advice.
Why this works? When we’ve lost touch with someone we are no longer in their “recency bias” for when new opportunities pass them by. This is a time to remind them of who you are and tell them about what you want at this point in your career.
Friday: Be Bold
The last day of the week is about pushing ourselves even more, it's a culmination of the entire week. It’s very similar to Thursday, except we are reaching out to people we DON’T know. We looked at people who work where we want to work or in jobs that we want to work in.
We crafted an email that asked for a few minutes of their time so that we can learn more about they do. Not asking for a job, just asking for information. This helps us create a network of people who can support us find that RIGHT career for us.
Rinse and Repeat.
I recommend doing this every week. Carve out 5 minutes in your calendar each day and commit to it. It’s going to create SO MANY opportunities for you. You’ll have a powerful network that gives you access to that Hidden Job Market. You’ll have mentors and advocates that want to see you succeed.
Don’t forget, join the group to get support, the sample emails and more tips on how this will change your career success.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
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