You can never be disappointed if you come to the Hub. This morning as I was trying to figure out what to do next, I entered the Hub and voila, there was a talk going on with the slide titled "Networking".
David Hennessy from Keystone Partners gave an amazing talk on the tricks of networking. He mentioned that the key was to go from an information gatherer to an information provider. That is the point where the person who you are trying to network with feels that you have value. So it's very important to have a lot of knowledge in the area you are looking for a job.
The second point was not to go up to a person and say that you want a job in their company. "It's not about asking for a job in that person's company, it's about asking for advice", David stressed. It's true, people love giving advice. Especially if you are networking with people higher up in the professional ladder, then it's a great question to ask them how they got to where they are in their career.
One of his slides also had a nice format of what he called the "30-second commercial", where you talk about your background and introduce yourself. You start off with 5 seconds of introduction (who you are and broadly what you do), followed by 10 seconds of your most recent experience/accomplishments, then 10 seconds of your future aspirations, and then finishing with 5 seconds of asking for assistance asking for their insight/advice on the companies you are interested in.
David also emphasized the importance of forming a relationship with the person as opposed to making a connection for job only. He explained that if you try to get to know about their family or personal interests or things you might have in common, it will strengthen the relationship. This made me think about the movie Legally Blonde where the female protagonist literally gets through every professional hurdle by forming a personal relationship.
The last thing he mentioned was the importance of follow-up after an interview - that can be a make or break deal in some cases. If you don't get a response on the follow-up e-mail, send another one but DON'T refer to the previous ones you have sent. That just makes the person feel guilty about one more thing they have not done. Instead make them feel appreciated, and then they will appreciate you more.
At the end of the talk, I asked David how to go about networking if you are looking for a job in a completely different geographical location. He suggested to try and find out people in your area who might have gone to school or have some connection to the area you want to land a job in. For instance, I live in Knoxville, TN, but I am looking for a job in the Toronto area in Canada, so he said there must be people in Knoxville who might have lived or gone to school in Toronto, you start off by looking for them and building a relationship that way. All in all, a very productive session!
The Hub will have two more great talks this afternoon -
2-2:45PM - Preparing for your next job interview
3-3:45PM - Negotiating a job offer
Don't miss them!