Networking Wave#2: Targeting Attractive Organizations

Your Career CompassTurning Opportunities In To Interviews… This topic represents what most people call ‘active job search, but, as you can learn, the HOW –TO is what creates your success in networking. It professes strategies and tactics that will generate more effective networking.  In your ‘first wave’ of networking you had the opportunity to:

  1. Reconnect with people you already know or have cause to know…
  2. In a non-threatening environment, confirm your positioning and get valuable input to your assessment and objective setting…
  3. Broaden your networking base, and gaining confidence in the process–a neat by-product that will serve you well for the rest of your career…
  4. Identify attractive opportunities, and targeted organization!

Thursday, May 5th… Turning Opportunities into INTERVIEWS:  Representing your ‘second wave’ of networking IN TO an organization


Pilot OnboardYou’ll be the first to know when you’re ready for ‘wave 2’ of networking… which, simply put, is networking your way in to attractive opportunities.  You will focus your activity and time management to the business of creating INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION with employees, customers, and vendors–the “stakeholders”– within and surrounding any targeted organization.

THE BASICS

So what are those basics that will allow you to effectively network to identify appropriate opportunities, and then secure the requisite INTERVIEWS in order to “close the deal?”

  1. Practice your two minute drill every chance you get…. it’s the fundamental building material of your communication strategy–your verbal collaterals!
  2. Practice your exit and qualification statements… most all potential employers and networking contacts will want to know your current situation and why you are available.
  3. Practice answering both common and tough questions… including pre-offer negotiation tactics. The most asked question during career transition is, “Tell me about yourself.” Appropriate use of your two-minute drill and related verbal strategies, your “verbal collaterals,” is a key ingredient to personal salesmanship…
  • A verbal resume… A tightly focused, upbeat telling of “your story” told in a high impact two minute format. With practice, can be easily personalized to your listener.
  • An “elevator pitch”… A succinct summary of your qualifications for a specifically positioned function or opportunity. With practice, can become quite spontaneous.
  • A qualification statement that can be used in introducing yourself

Let’s not forget a couple of additional ‘collaterals’ that will help you round out your ability to ‘get the word out’ and serve as evidence of your qualifications.

  1. Brag bytes… Wordcraft various collections of words, phrases and sentences to capture memorable moments or accomplishments–the best you have to offer. “…saved 80% cost-perhire…” Used in MSWord, ‘Quick Parts’ can be quite efficient when building high impact correspondence as well.
  2. Personal Portfolio… Your collection of certificates, examples of work, reference letters, etc that can bring life and interest (not to mention PROOF) to your story.

RESEARCHING TARGET Organizations and Attractive Positions

Step six in our 12-step Process, first level research will help you to identify attractive trends and targeted companies.  But, in THIS context, I suggest digging a bit deeper in order to help secure an interview… Learn as much as possible about the company, the potential opportunity, and the hiring authority–the person who has the budget authority to hire you. This is usually your next boss, but could be even higher in the chain of command.

Your research goals ought to include developing information about the company’s products, people, organizational structure, successes (and failures), profits (and losses), capital spending, strategic plans, philosophy and labor climate. Showing your knowledge of some of this information can give you added credibility over other candidates networking to, and actually interviewing for the job.

  • Research the company web site, looking for information relative to your function and level… a company’s financial and annual reports can provide clues to their stability and market share. Don’t forget directories, trade journals, the “business press,” and databases of articles and other news.
  • As part of your ‘second wave of networking,’ ask a friendly recruiter, business acquaintance or stockbroker what they know about the company… and by extension, call people with whom you have networked and ask what they know about the company
  • Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
  • Call the company directly; request a sales brochure, annual report or other company information. Companies have to market themselves, too, you know!

Telephone and Networking Skills

On a scale of passive to assertive => to aggressive, let’s take a look at how we could communicate direct to contacts in and surrounding a targeted organization…

Email…safe, but too easy to be deleted before a relationship is established. Requires follow-up.

LETTER of introduction… also safe, but read more often. Paves the way for a first call to a referral… creates dialog. Requires phone follow-up.

Phone call…direct… often a cold call… requires risk. Establishes contact, interaction and, worst case, VISIBILITY.

There’s only two reasons to be on the phone during active job search…

  1. Reconnecting with valid contacts, seeking their advice and information, sharing your communication strategy, and seeking referral activity…
  2. Securing actual interviews

Cover NOTE and resume… Rather than mindlessly applying to countless jobs, playing the numbers game; develop your networking style to motivate a person to request your resume.  When requested, resume gets read more often. Establishes relationship. Requires follow-through. Face2face office visit!

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Launching and SUSTAINING An Effective Job Search

Your Career CompassAs a contact sport, networking is about interaction between sender and receiver, buyer and seller… job seeker and potential employers. The great news is that you get to start from YOUR ‘sweet spot’ or middle ground where all this interaction occurs the easiest!


Thursday, April 28th… Implementation of your PMP:  Are you conducting an efficient and productive job search?  A good session to start or refresh your efforts!


In your “first wave,” you should start with people that you already know or have some connection to. If your ‘natural network’ doesn’t have a regular meeting—most do not, by their very diverse nature—groups of like-minded people are easy to identify and attend.

As you begin to reach out and broaden your ‘sweet spot,’ be selective in your attempt to create a supportive ‘community’ grouping close to your targeted marketplace.  Networking within your targeted marketplace, your unique, job search ‘community’ should play a critical role in your Personal Marketing strategies. It is an easy means to getting the word out about your business to people who may purchase and influence others to purchase your service or goods.

** Note:   But just as with any other job search activity, we get what we put into it.

Pilot OnboardThat being said, local networking events are seeing record turnouts lately, a sign that leads us to believe the networking is paying off. A Local Networking Group is any organization, which meets on a regular basis, to share and receive referrals and leads. Examples of formal Local Networking groups for small and medium sized business include: BNI (Business Networking International), Merchants’ Associations, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Associations.

Some of the largest local organizations devoted to supporting job seeker efforts are  Frisco Connect, Cathedral of Hope, the Southlake Group, Watermark Church… to name just a few. Many are associated with church support organizations… but are completely nondenominational in their approach, operation and outreach.

WHAT to start with if you have a huge personal contact network to start with… great! Start by prioritizing your list into three sub categories… Seasoned networkers with terrific phone and interview skills will undoubtedly start their networking efforts at the “B” and “SEE” list levels… but for the ‘normal’ job seeker this represents pre-mature activity.

Use the earlier preparation steps, practice time, and your first several ‘baby steps’ to develop your effectiveness BEFORE having to perform for your best contacts. “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.” Further, try to avoid the temptation to respond to your sense of urgency in securing your next employment, with lack of adequate preparation and planning— the first seven steps—don’t be guilty of… “Ready… FIRE… Aim” It is as easy as a-b-c…

YOUR DISTRIBUTION NETWORK

Steps six and seven of our 12-step Process M.A.P., initial research and pulling together your initial contact list are in place to create focus to your efforts… What are the trends in the market that are attractive to you, and which target organizations are most needy of your value proposition?

Your evolving contact list will take you through the A-B-C’s of networking and the development of your distribution channels…

  1. Start with people you already know or have reason to “should know,” as they are the most likely to be receptive to your initial efforts.
  2. As you develop your network, identify key bridge contacts that can give you specific information or introduce you to key decision-makers and hiring authorities.
  3. Critical to your success is building relationships with people who can influence your hiring. This ‘must see’ list of influential contacts and hiring authorities is the epicenter of your job search campaign!

So… why PLAN?

Your Career CompassYour Personal Marketing Plan: A CAREER Strategy

While involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times. Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…


Thursday, April 14th… Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan (PMP): Are you prepared for a productive job search???


 

When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:Pilot Onboard

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities… 
  •  We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…
  • And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

So, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

Personal Marketing is a contact sport.