Did I just read the heading correctly? If you are part of the “Great Resignation,” “Great Reshuffle,” or whatever you want to call it while searching for a new job, you may want to refocus your goals while networking. Just because you’re looking for a job doesn’t mean that everyone will care, have the time, or even want to bother networking with you. It’s important for you to be strategic in your approach and take a step back to reassess how you’ve approached your past networking sessions. Ask yourself, “Has it worked?”
In too many examples with coaching clients, I find an unintentional selfishness to the approach where you might find that the first and last question asked was related to, “Do you have any openings?” Even when I’ve actively sought a job or trying to expand myself professionally, I need to remind myself about the importance of having a goal outside of job searching, I must constantly ask does the networking session go beyond finding a viable lead or am I doing the harder part of building a relationship?
We get led in this direction because we are the ones who take it this way. We might say it was tough losing our job or are feel the urgency to get out of a job that causes an immense amount of frustration. If our primary goal is to look for a job we might be unintentionally steering the conversation toward sitting back and waiting for the sympathy or empathy to come in to the conversation. When we’re looking to take the next step in our career, sympathy isn’t usually going to land us the job of our dreams.
When I’ve been active job seeking, I always have to remind myself that my first thought is to build or enhance a connection, and not to cut to the chase of what’s available in that person’s organization. If someone on the street asked you, “Are you hiring?” you probably would look at them funny. Ultimately, if our primary goal clearly comes across as a job search, we are creating a wall. Instead, the goal should be to get someone to like, respect, and trust you first. The rest will take care of itself through the developing relationship.
Don’t mistake me: I am not saying you should disguise your underlying goal of finding a job with a thin veil of insincere small talk. You’re not hiding that you’re looking for a job, but it doesn’t need to be your headline. When your pure focus is on the job search and not the potential budding relationship, I’ve found a sense of desperation whether it was in the messaging, tone, or words. I’m clearly stating that your primary goal is not to find a job when you are specifically networking, but to make a connection. If the goal is not to find the next opening while networking with someone, then what should you be doing? First, you must find the common bond—either personal or professional. Why did you think of this person in the first place? That most likely will provide you enough clues to find a link. You have to relate in some way to the person you’re speaking with so it doesn’t come across as a cold call. Whether it’s a common field of expertise, or something you’ve picked up on LinkedIn, or the person who referred you to them, find the common ground. As much as we may inadvertently push the conversation into, “What can you do for me?” the success of the session is contingent on your ability to find what’s in it for the other person to truly make a valuable connection—both sides need to get something from the conversation. Let the network find the job for you. You just need to keep the process moving by building strong relationships based on common bonds.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com. Book , eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only) purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com