With networking resulting in 80% of job leads, it’s best to stay focused on networking as much as possible. Now this article is for those of you who have already tackled LinkedIn networking and have already mass emailed and contacted everyone they already know.
This article is for you if you are ready to take your networking to the next level for even bigger and better job opportunities.
Strategy 1: Grow your network with alumni.
Contact your college or university career center and obtain a list of alumni contacts in the career field you are interested in. If you are still living where you went to school, drop in and meet with the career advisor. Most advisors are happy to help alumni so don’t feel like you are bothering them. Remember, no one can help you if you never ask.
Try to get a list of alumni and their contact information and go down the list asking for informational interviews. People always want to help people that they have something in common with.
Also, make sure that you have joined your university’s LinkedIn group for alumni. Start contacting people in the group and make sure all alumni events are on your calendar for next month.
Strategy 2: Host an event.
Instead of going to a networking event hoping to find the right people, why not host your own job searching party! Invite people who are in the career you want, to come to a cocktail or dinner party and get to know them. These people you invite will benefit by expanding their contacts and networking with other interesting people that can be of value to them. The key is to do your research and only invite 6-8 of the people that you think would make an excellent and fun dinner party.
At the end of the party, make sure you give a little presentation about who you are and what you could do for their companies. It might also help to have a few promotional items to giveaway. You can easily get cheap pens but you need to buy them in bulk. The emphasis here is on how you can HELP them. Also ask each of them to connect you with one other person that they know and invite them to your next cocktail party. Do this monthly and you will quickly expand your network and have new job opportunities. Don’t be scared…just do it. Especially you introverts…you have control over this one! (I know this because I am one too!:) Introverts are often scared to go to a networking event in fear that they won’t know anyone. This option is great because you are in total control. You know exactly who will be there and you can practice exactly what you will say beforehand. Easy!
OK, I know what you are going to say. This is an expensive option. Wrong! I have hosted a cocktail party for 15 people and only spent $60. All you need is a free room and then purchase some appetizers and wine at the grocery store yourself. I found that people always ate less than I expected as well, especially if you are inviting women.
You can also ask people to just pay for their own dinners because to have met a good group to network with is totally worth it to them. I asked 8 people to a lunch one time and they all came and paid for themselves. I just told them ahead of time that was the deal so everyone was prepared with their credit card. Just try it. You never know until you try! Just remember that every dime you spend is going to be worth it in the end.
Sometimes it is also a mindset block. Make sure you change your mindset from, “This is going to be hard and expensive!” to “This is going to be a blast!”
Strategy 3: Introduce others in your network.
This is a great way to strengthen your network. Make an introduction between two people who would benefit from knowing each other. For example, refer potential clients or potential partners. Look through your LinkedIn network and see who could become good friends if they knew about each other. You can send a quick email introducing each of them and say I have someone I want you to meet that I think would be really valuable for you to have in your network! The people you introduce will remember that you were the one that made the connection and most likely will do the same for you in the future.
Strategy 4: Start interviewing experts.
This is exactly the strategy I used to grow my network of career experts and authors. Make sure you record the interviews and then post them online or consolidate tips into an ebook. It’s totally free to do this over the phone you can use freeconferencecallhd.com or use a free Google Hangout. This strategy really puts you on the map if you are wanting to grow your social brand and become well known in your industry. This is how you can take your career to the next level. So think about using this strategy of interviewing experts in your field to really help you uplevel your career even further.
Strategy 5: Create a video resume.
In today’s highly competitive job market, creating the right video resume to accompany your traditional resume can make you stand out from the crowd and lead to job opportunities.
The whole point of a video presentation is to offer a potential employer greater insight into you than a traditional resume can, so just reading aloud the contents of your resume is a waste of everyone’s time.
Use the video to help the employer get a sense of not just what you have achieved, but what you are capable of achieving in the future. Tell them why you would be the right person to hire and what you can do for them. You can use your phone or just the camera on your laptop. Keep your video resume short. Stay within 2 minutes and remember to stay classy. Be creative, but professional. Do not deviate too much from the demeanor you would have in the workplace. Dress professionally, just as if you are going to an in-person interview. And make sure it passes the share test. You never know it could go viral. Imagine your friends and family watching the clip. If the thought of that embarrasses you, then don’t submit it.
Strategy 6: Call or walk into your dream company and introduce yourself.
This idea actually worked for one of my friends, Kat, who got a job offer as an Associate Marketing Director. She was extremely interested when she found out about the job opening, she submitted her resume online. A couple of days later she kept thinking about the job and she realized she probably wasn’t going to get the job because she didn’t have marketing experience and she didn’t tailor her resume to the job. So she called up the company and told them she was very interested. She also knew she needed to think outside the box so she ended up researching the company a little more. After she finished tailoring and improving her resume the second time and did exactly what I teach, she printed out her resume, walked right into the front desk and had an impromptu interview. She handed her resume to the marketing manager and told her she was very interested in the position and then gave her pitch about why she thought she was a good fit for the position in person. After that, she got an email from the marketing manager who said she really liked her initiative and she asked her to come onboard as the intern. That was in October and by December they offered her a full time job as Associate Marketing Manager.
So just by walking in and turning in her resume in paper and meeting the hiring manager in person is how my friend, Kat, stood out from the competition. Now, I am not saying this always works but it is definitely something to have in your toolbox especially if you are applying at a smaller company that encourages creative thinking and innovation. It’s all about standing out and being different.
What strategy will you use to find new job opportunities?
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