Networking guru, Donna Messer, is known for saying that one has to ‘network to get work’. It doesn’t matter how often you hear this; it doesn’t matter how often you discount it, networking to get work is a fact.
Too often people say “Networking doesn’t work for me…I am too shy to network…people might think I am forcing myself on them.” Some of these comments may be true, but let’s GOI – Get Over It. Don’t allow such crippling thoughts to prevent you from getting the job or promotion you really want, or deserve.
You may be telling yourself that you have a great resume and cover letter, but not much is happening. Well, by themselves, they won’t get you the opportunity you are looking for. You need to find creative ways to use these documents to reach your target company. It takes hard work, and lots of it! Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” Do not miss your opportunity because you are thinking networking is hard work. I can guarantee you, if done properly, your networking efforts will pay off. Just don’t expect overnight success!
Some years ago, I was listening to a group of recruiters on a teleseminar. One was a senior executive recruiter from Microsoft. He told the story of a young man who had been trying to get a job with the company for two years. His resume was just not getting to the right people. You bet it was probably drowning in the sea of thousands of other resumes.
This young man discovered that the company had several blogs, and began to offer comments and contribute his opinions on topics that fell within his area of expertise. One of the company’s recruiters began paying attention to his comments and posts, and realized he knew his stuff. Not very long after he was contacted, and within 10 days of that contact he was offered his dream job with Microsoft. This may have been several years ago, but the process still works. You have to ditch the idea that networking doesn’t work, and devise strategies on how you are going to make it work for you.
Two weeks ago, one of my clients saw a position with one of his target companies and remembered I knew one of the senior HR executives, so he sent me an email to ask if I was still in touch with her. I hadn’t been for a long time, so I googled her name and realized she had moved out of that role. However, while doing the search, I found an article with the name of another recruiter in the company. I passed it to the client and suggested that he do a little bit of footwork and find out how email addresses at the company are structured. Soon after, he responded:
“Thanks for the article. I had a friend who previously worked at [Company] so I was able to copy that format (firstname.lastname@example.org) and send a message through to the lady from the article. She said she had switched positions but would forward my message to a finance recruiter. Hopefully that will help speed things along.”
That’s networking and research all wrapped in one. Somewhere out there, there is an employer who needs what you have to offer. But you need to know how to get on their radar. You can do this by tapping into your network or the network of others. Networking is Not a Dirty Word. It’s called Relationship Building.
Does the thought of networking send shivers down your spine? Don’t try doing it alone. Ask for help.