We are all being told to network and build our professional contacts, but does that mean we simply hand out business cards, shake hands and never talk to these folks again? Often times, we are guilty of doing this. Yes, building our professional network on Linked In is great, but can you remember who these people are and where you met them at?
Networking has become the new buzz word for job seekers, but you have to really work at it and build those solid relationships. Look at your contacts on Linked In for advice and reach out to them. People like to be asked for advice and typically will try to help you out. Having said that, don’t go out and reach out to every CEO you can find and beg for a job – that will only show a desperate cry for help. On the other hand, reach out to people and ask them how things are going in their respective fields. For example, I’m a technical recruiter for an engineering firm here in Lansing. Perhaps you are studying human resources or are working on finding a position as a recruiter – feel free to message me. I promise not to bite and I might have some advice to help you along.
The point of networking is to build professional relationships. When we were in high school, we strived to make friendships – in the real world it’s pretty much the same. I’m not saying you will be able to go out for a night on the town with the CEO of your favorite company, but perhaps you can meet with them for a cup of coffee and ask them more about their company or even meet with somebody in that company to ask for the inside scoop.
There are some people on Linked In who don’t accept invites – it’s a fact of life. Sometimes you will want to connect with a person and they require you to put in their email address. Reach out to your contacts if you have some in common. Otherwise, meet the person in person and ask to connect on Linked In and let them know that you tried and were unsuccessful because you didn’t know their email address. Don’t take it personally either – trust me there are folks in Lansing that I would love to connect with from great organizations who never have accepted my invite. Perhaps they see that I’m a recruiter or they think of me as that “terminator girl” and already have some opinion of me. It’s okay, I just keep moving on.
Networking events are always going on here in Lansing – everything from Chamber events to Pink Slip Parties. There are specialized workshops for people involved in professional organizations, such as the Michigan Economic Developers Association, MarketLansing! and more. Get involved in something that is in your field – perhaps SHRM, PRSA, SME, etc.
Journey to Jobs is fast approaching and if you are going, make sure you are using your time to network with people. Don’t just walk up and hand over a resume, use a few moments to give your elevator pitch and ask for their business card. Tell them why you are interested in their company and ask if you can add them on Linked In.
If you aren’t able to make it to Journey to Jobs, check out the Pink Slip Party on July 12th. It’s a free event for job seekers and employers which happens once every quarter. If you want more information, check out the above link in the Events section.
Feel free to add me on Linked In if you haven't already. Happy networking!
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