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.
COVID & THE FUTURE OF WORK
Things are changing, rapidly. We’re all on this roller coaster ride that isn’t fun at all. Our lives have been heavily impacted, especially our careers and our work.
The job market has been impacted just as much and the future has us living in the unknown right now. For anyone like me, that unknown is terrifying. It leaves you feeling unsettled, anxious and worried.
So I went digging into finding some answers to remove some of that unknown quality and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. This article isn’t anything “written in stone” but just a collection of insights about the marketplace that will leave you feeling a little surer of what’s to come.
First, let’s break down the immediate impact this crisis has had on the marketplace, especially the organizations and how they have reacted. Jenny Hargreaves over at tellent did an amazing job breaking this down. She noted that most organizations fell into 1 of 3 areas:
1. Ruin: these are the companies that are falling apart. They may be declaring bankruptcy, shutting down or on the brink of it happening.
2. Dormant: these companies were shocked and they are unclear of how this will impact them. They’ve entered a “wait and see” approach by having a hiring freeze, issuing temporary layoffs, having really scaled back on their goals and the staff needed to accomplish it. They anticipate and can survive this for 3-6 months and after that there is some uncertainty.
3. Hiring: These are the companies that are expanding and growing during this time. While all industries may see some growth, here is a list of industries that are experiencing expansion:
The anticipation is that all of these will continue to grow with the thought of 3 waves of Covid with social distancing measures needed for each, so we would expect this expansion to last 18 months -2 years.
Now not every department within these industries will grow. Some thoughts I have on the departments that will be important:
1. Risk Management & Cyber Security (obvious reasons)
2. Human Resources (unlike 2008, HR has saved the day for many organizations),
4. Communications (2nd most sought after talent right now)
5. Marketing (for pivots – but will be short lived, there is expectation that some lay offs may happen once we are done)
Some of the departments that have been streamlined are Project Management (in the short term and then will come back), Sales, Marketing and Administrative.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
So if you are looking for a job right now or will be in the near future, what are some of the actions you can take?
1. Explore the list of growing industries and examine your skill set. What skills do you have already that can be used?
2. Dig into the companies on this list to see who has a history of remote work. They are the ones we really want to target as they would’ve been able to pivot during this time a lot quicker and easier. All they had to focus on was the pandemic. Companies not set up had to divide their attention between setting up their workforce to work from home PLUS the pandemic.
3. Research and get familiar with the technologies that make working from home a lot easier. When applicable, update your resume and LinkedIn to showcase them.
4. Speaking of your marketing documents, focus on your experiences that involved TRANSFORMATION. Either transformation that you led or where a part of. Outline how you can make the lives of these companies and the people within it easier.
5. Networking is always the best thing you can do for your career. But this is especially true right now. People are more generous in spirit which means that they are more willing to agree to an online networking meeting. For my clients, a lot of great networking is happening right now. Speaking of, join my Career Networking Group!
Hope exists. The marketplace is going to change, that’s a fact. But when we focus on thinking about the opportunity that this time is giving us the we feel hopeful and we take actions that lead us to those great results we want to see.
If you are struggling with this right now, schedule a free strategy call. Let’s talk about your struggle right now, your vision for your future and how we can get you there.
You are in the midst of a tough job search and doing what you thought you were supposed to do. Doling things like applying to jobs, even doing some networking with some friends and family, but nothing is working.
Well perhaps it is time to start taking your networking to the next level with one of these 5 innovative ideas.
1. Start Your Own Networking Group
That’s what I did. I noticed that in Halton there wasn’t an online networking group, so I created one on Facebook. An online one is great as it allows you to network with other job seekers and of course lots of employed people and it is a comfortable way to start building relationships. Maybe you could even host some in person events to meet with the group “live”.
To start one, pick your platform – Facebook or LinkedIn are great for online. LinkedIn is more professional but the groups aren’t always super active. Facebook is great because it is more interactive, but some people may not think to look for a networking group on Facebook.
Another alternative is to start a MeetUp group which is more geared to in person but has an online component, the big draw back is cost as MeetUp doesn’t allow anyone to create a group for free.
Once you’ve created the group make sure you invite all of your friends and family, promoting it in relevant Facebook groups and post about it on all your social media channels. Then begin to target individuals who are in careers, companies and industries that you want. That way you can begin to build those key relationships for your future.
2. Post a Video Resume
Create a video (or series of videos) and post it on relevant social media channels (especially LinkedIn). Don’t regurgitate your resume though, instead use this as an opportunity to help potential employers understand what you have achieved, how you made a difference and what you are capable of achieving in the future.
Make sure your personality is shining through, that is what this video resume is, a chance for a potential employer (or networking contact) to see YOU. Keep is short and sweet, around 2 minutes and it goes without saying, be professional.
3. Give Back
This especially works if you are in an active job search (read: not working), instead of treating your job search like a full time job, get out of your head and give back.
Find a volunteer opportunity that allows you to keep your skill set active or even build new skills that will be useful for your future job.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again…) that a positive mindset goes a LONG way in a career so keeping yourself productive while giving back to your community will keep your spirits high. Plus, it will look good on your resume and LinkedIn profile!
4. Knock On Doors
In this world of technology, the personal touch gets lost. We hide behind our computer screens and apply to jobs and hope for the best.
Sometimes we need to go old school, especially for a job we really want. So if a dream job comes up at a dream company, apply through normal channels, do your research on the potential hiring manager and reach out through email. Then print out your resume and show up in person. At the front desk, simply state that you wanted to drop an application off to the hiring manager (providing their name). You never know, the manager may be available and may pop down to see you. Stranger things have happened!
No matter what, it shows that you take initiative and that you aren’t afraid to go the extra mile for something you are passionate about.
5. Take Advantage of Everyday Moments
Every day we are faced with potential networking opportunities – I’ve heard of jobs happening based off of conversations on the soccer field, in the dentist’s chair and running into old friends.
Since networking is about getting people invested in your success based off of building strong relationships it doesn’t have to happen in a traditional “professional setting”. Start asking people questions while out and about and casually mention your next move.
Taking control and ownership of your future will not only help uncover those hard to find opportunities but it will also boost your confidence and set you up for success when they do come around.
Are you struggling in your job search? Book a free consult, we'll talk it through, I'll give you some actionable advise so that you can (finally) land that right career.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
The Secrets to finding a job you love
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