One of my goals this year is to build more local relationships and connections through networking. Networking can come to some people naturally, but for others it can be daunting. I would rate myself in the middle whereby I like to be social, yet it takes some self-talk and planning to get me out to market my business.
I plan my networking activity by listing who I’d like to connect with and how will I go about it. Whether I’m cold calling on recruitment firms, attending a community event, or inviting people on LinkedIn for a coffee meeting, at some point a face to face discussion will need to take place. Here’s where more planning needs to be done – preparing what to say.
I’ve developed a two minute pitch which summarises the following:
- What I do / my services
- My relevant background and skills
- How I add value
- Where I am headed
It sounds like this:“As a career coach I help people develop their job seeking skills. My background is in Human Resources and Recruitment Consulting spanning 20+ years. I create resumes for people which highlight their strengths and help to maximise their chances to be called for an interview. I also provide coaching on interviewing, networking, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with more local people, by offering group workshops as well as individual support, so that they can reach their career goals.”
A two minute pitch can be woven into a conversation or when asked “tell me about yourself”. For job seekers, these networking strategies are equally important. By putting some thoughtful planning into your communication piece, and making times to meet with people, you’ll be surprised how quickly opportunities will be uncovered.
Develop your own two minute pitch by answering the following questions:
- What role are you targeting?
- Where have you recently been working or studying?
- How would you summarise your career history into one sentence?
- What are your strengths or achievements?
- What are your goals for the future?
It’s wise to have your thoughts written down and practiced for both formal and informal occasions. You may be at a conference, a friend’s BBQ or at the school play, and find you are asked, “So, what do you do?”
You never know what will transpire, whether it’s a job lead, a training opportunity or an idea you hadn’t previously considered. What will you have prepared to say?