Helpful Networking Tips
Thoughtful networking provides a focused way to talk to people about your job search. Done right, it can help you obtain leads, referrals, advice, information and support. It is an essential component of any successful job search, but it requires planning.
The good news for older job seekers is that by virtue of more years and more experiences, you generally have an edge over your younger counterparts in the scope of your networks. But older workers may be less experienced in identifying and using those contacts.
Below are helpful ways to network and you will learn how to build and sustain your employment networks.
1. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
A key part of effective networking is knowing how and what to say:
• Be clear about your employment goals.
• Do a self-assessment, know who you are and what you want.
• Prepare talking points and practice delivering them, whether you have 10 seconds for an elevator pitch or 10 minutes for an informational interview
2. Keep Track of Your Leads and Referrals
• Do you have permission to use your referrals' name?
• Once you have reached out to your leads be sure to keep track of what was said and the end result.
• Develop a reliable follow up system that works for you. This could be a in the form of keeping a notebook or using your calendar, etc.
• Be persistent and actually follow up
3. Expand Your Comfort Zones
Your network will include people you know well, acquaintances and referrals, fact is you will need to join different groups to meet different people. Get creative.
Here’s a list of common sources for networking contacts. Children’s contacts: PTA, sporting teams, Scouts, parents of their friends
• Former employers, including supervisors and coworkers
• Friends: local and out-of-town
• Hobby groups: bridge clubs, gardening, model trains, quilting, etc.
• Members of clubs: health club, football club, hiking club
• Members of your church, temple, synagogue or mosque (some religious organisations also sponsor job search groups)
• Participants in trade shows, seminars or workshops you’ve attended
• Political groups
• Professional associations
• Relatives: local and out-of-town
• Service or fraternal organizations and groups: Rotary, Lions, etc.
• Services: travel agents, stockbrokers, estate agents
• Volunteer associations: past and present
4. Keep In Touch
Your network is your “net worth.” To get the most from your investment, thank everyone who helps you.
5. Remember to Help Others too – Refer a Friend
Make yourself available as a resource for other job seekers, and treat them as you would like to be treated by those with whom you network.
Utilize refer a friend program such as Drake’s Refer A Friend initiative. Not only will it help others, but you will be incentivized too.