How To Open Doors

Handleby Genevieve Ward

The last few weeks I’ve been super busy juggling my business activities between working with clients, marketing via social media, preparing presentation slides, responding to emails and building my professional contacts.  All important and exciting stuff to keep my business moving forward and thankfully my efforts are paying off!  I’ve started working with some local people to hone their job search skills, I’m presenting to graduate librarians on interview techniques and I’ve joined a local think tank.  I attribute these recent successes to networking.

It’s true the best way to generate business is by word of mouth, therefore it’s paramount for me to get to know people.  For job seekers it’s equally important to build up connections because these contacts may lead you to your next interview.  To network effectively here are some pointers that have worked for me:

  • Communicate what it is you’re looking for.  It is human nature to enjoy helping people and if they understand your needs then it’s easier for them to help you.  Whether it’s directing you to a job opportunity, introducing you to key decision makers or sharing sound advice around your job search/marketing strategy.
  • Find the balance between establishing rapport and overselling yourself.  When having a conversation with people, be genuine otherwise they will see through your sales pitch.
  • Use social media networking to supplement your face to face time.  LinkedIn or Facebook are great avenues for setting up your coffee meetings which is where the meaningful exchanges happen.
  • Acknowledge that it can sometimes be daunting talking to new people, so preparing what you want to say (such as a two minute pitch) can help alleviate nerves.
  • Joining networking associations can open doors to enable you to collaborate with like-minded people, build on your professional skills as well as identify job leads.
  • Be mindful that networking is not just for job seekers, it’s a healthy life skill to stay in touch and maintain thoughtful relationships with people.
  • Writing a thank you email following a networking meeting is a courteous gesture in validating the person’s time.  It can set you apart as a candidate and people will be more inclined to recommend you or want to help you again.

Applying these methods can set you on the path to building strong personal and professional networks.  I love the feeling when I’ve steered a strong candidate to a trusted recruiter and they’ve ended up securing a role.  Conversely, I’ve appreciated introductions to people from whom I’ve gained useful insights into running my business.

Have you been networking lately and where has it lead you?

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