The Networking Hack You Might Be Overlooking
Lately many of my clients have been coming to me with networking woes.
“I just don’t know where to start.”
“I have been to networking events, they all suck.”
“I don’t know how to approach people about my job search.”
I get it. Networking can be a daunting task. The thought of putting yourself out there thinking that a person may not respond, or feeling awkward with your glass of Chardonnay in the bar that's too noisy and everyone seems to know each other.
Real talk, you are doing it all wrong.
Well, you aren’t doing it wrong, but you are making this more complicated than you need to. At least, at first.
It’s true, in order to effectively network, you do need to attack it across all channels. You do need to be attending networking events in person, you do need to reach out to contacts on Linkedin that work for companies that you are interested in. All of that.
You are, however; forgetting one key element: YOUR OWN NETWORK.
You didn’t get to where you are by not meeting anyone along the way. Before you start stressing out about what networking events make sense for you, or how to make your blind outreach on LinkedIn not sound “stalker-ish,” just take a step back.
Who do you know already?
It seems like such a simple question, but most people overlook their own network. Many times they don’t want to bother them or spam their inbox. Maybe they don’t think they can help.
Guess what? All it takes is someone to know someone that works at your dream company, and boom — you have a coffee meeting.
The more eyeballs on your resume, and knowledge of your job search, the better.
“I don’t know where to start!”
Start by making a list. Make a list of everyone you know. Former bosses, former colleagues, friends, family, contacts you have met along the way.
Then draft a blind copy email to this list with your updated and amazing resume attached. Odds are, some of these people are close to you and know that you are looking already, and that’s ok. This is a nice refresher for them to keep you top of mind.
“OK, but now what do I say?”
Keep it short and snappy, but intentional. Talk about your search. What are you looking for? Companies that interest you? What is your experience in? This is your personal network, so make sure to treat it with care. For example, don’t be too aggressive and demand they hand over every HR contact they know.
Instead, try something like “If you believe my skills and aspirations would jive with anyone in your network, I would love to take them for coffee and have a conversation about my search."
Remember, they are doing you a favor. Be gracious and accommodating.
Now you are good to go. Hit send and feel good that you started with your immediate network instead of working backward.
Again, the other aspects of networking will still need to happen. You have to cover all of your bases. The point is, don’t ignore what is right in front of you.
Networking doesn’t have to be a chore; you just need to think strategically as it is the most integral part of the job search.
Key takeaway: Start building your network distribution list today! You will feel so much better when you send that email out.