[05.21.09]
46 great comments!

11 Keys To Successful Job Search Networking

OK. Tonight I am going to cover a topic that an awful lot of people still struggle to grasp: job search networking.  I don’t blame them, but I really want them to figure it out. It is in some ways really simple.  And other ways painfully difficult.

job search networking, Networking, Steps, Credibility, Dialogue, Value, Authentic, Job Search

The subject is job search networking.  Clearly this is a topic covered by many-a-blogger so I hope this short case study knocks a hole in the wall for you and lets some light in. I’ll try to keep it painless.

I had an experience a few weeks ago with someone I knew from earlier in my career.  We briefly worked at the same company in the early 1990’s.  But we hadn’t spoken since then.  So why was this experience a good one and what specifically happened between us that left me with such a good impression?

1.  I’ll call her Staci because that’s her name.  Only open kimonos here . . .

2.  Staci re-connected with me via Linkedin.  Although we were not connected there yet, she found me and sent a personal and friendly note asking if I would meet with her.  Since she sent a personal and friendly note, I am now instantly open to hear what Staci has to say.  She took the time to make me feel important by spending a few extra minutes on that note.

3.  We met at a coffee shop near my house. Staci could have suggested that we meet in the middle (she lives in Los Angeles and I am in Orange County). Her decision to drive to me shows a respect for my time.  Let’s face it, she made it really easy for me to say yes.

4. She offered to buy my cup of coffee.  Not everybody does this – in fact, most don’t. Those who do, again, send a clear message of appreciation.  It doesn’t matter if that message has a value of $2.50.  It still matters.  A few months ago I met with a recruiter and got some advice on this blog.  While that recruiter wouldn’t let me buy breakfast that day, you better believe she got a gift card from me a few days after our meeting!

5.  Providing some early value is critical.  Staci did this by bringing a CD filled with recruiter names and company lists that she thought I could use.  I felt appreciated and thankful for the effort on her part.

6.  During our meeting, I gave her everything I could including resume feedback, an introduction to the free downloads on Tim’s Strategy, etc. I told her everything I knew about the market for jobs down here and finished our meeting absolutely spent. But happy that I could help and glad that we had connected.

Now it could have ended there (as most networking relationships do).  But here’s how Staci extended our relationship and made me want to stay involved in her search . . .

7.  At the end of our chat, she said those magic words:  “Tim, how can I help you?”.  I’ve learned to always have an answer for this one.  I told her that if she knew of anyone who might be helped by the Tim’s Strategy blog or website to please send a note or let me know.  Simple, right?

Over the next week, Staci reinforced her interest in building a great relationship. 

8.  She introduced me (and Tim’s Strategy) to two people who run an outplacement company in Los Angeles. These are great targets for my content as they are always looking for new ideas to help their job seeker clients.  And I love new ideas!

In between here, I sent her leads on two great career coaches – something she mentioned during our meeting as an interest area.

9.  She sent me contact information for the head of her graduate university’s alumni career center. Again, a place where potentially I can gain additional exposure for Tim’s Strategy.

10.  She attended a networking group presentation of mine and made sure to grab me before and after to re-connect.  She also sent me a note after to tell me how much she enjoyed it.

11.  She commented on a blog post and offered some very relevant thoughts on the topic.  As a blogger, comments are an important part of interacting with readers and they also help support better search engine results by showing the value of your blog to the community.  She helped me.

Now, every networking relationship is different.  Clearly the stars aligned a bit to allow for Staci and I to meet and work well together.  But you can implement a version of every one of these ideas.  Yes you can.

A couple of key things to notice here,

Staci made a pretty big and broad effort to say thanks to me – before, during and after our meeting. Most important, I think, was her post-meeting effort.  She went out of her way to help me. Based specifically on my answer to her question – remember those magic words?  While I will remember her gracious offer to meet me near my home and buy the coffee, I will appreciate her referrals as those that added long-term value and addressed something that is really important to me. That is, the opportunity to increase awareness of this concept which I’ve worked so hard to create.

She maintained contact for a few weeks – cementing her search objectives in my mind. Instead of a quick thanks and monthly e-mail follow-ups, Staci delivered value in multiple steps.  As a marketer, she clearly understands reach and frequency!

Staci has left me feeling like I got the better end of the deal. Why does that matter?  It matters because her need is still in my head.  I feel like I owe her a referral or a lead to balance out our networking relationship.  Not literally, but I do want to help and she has given me 11 reasons to be looking out for her.

Last thing?

Networking is hard work.  Because you have to prepare and execute a plan with each person.  You have to know what to ask for and what to provide in return.

And you also have to know when and where to put in the bigger efforts. Had I been a junior IT professional, perhaps Staci would have focused her energies elsewhere. But I am a good contact for Staci (as she is for me) because we are in the same industry and in the same function.

It’s not always as simple as a coffee and a thank you. But it’s a start!

For more job search help, you might also like . . . 9 Ways To Bruise A Networking Relationship.


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: | | |
Categories: Career Networking
  • Scott

    Thanks for relating this productive networking experience. For many of us, just trying to figure out how we can help each other is the challenge. I’ve learned a lot about networking just from reading this. THANKS!

  • Scott

    Thanks for relating this productive networking experience. For many of us, just trying to figure out how we can help each other is the challenge. I’ve learned a lot about networking just from reading this. THANKS!

  • Hi Scott – Glad this helped you. The more you do it, the better you get. And, the more selfless acts, the better you feel . . .

  • Hi Scott – Glad this helped you. The more you do it, the better you get. And, the more selfless acts, the better you feel . . .

  • Liz

    Good article, but it bugs me that point #1 is:
    1. I’ll call her Staci because that’s her name. Only open kimonos here
    Which isn’t a “key” you mention in the subject of the post. Just sayin!!!

  • Liz

    Good article, but it bugs me that point #1 is:
    1. I’ll call her Staci because that’s her name. Only open kimonos here
    Which isn’t a “key” you mention in the subject of the post. Just sayin!!!

  • OK, you caught me. I never thought anyone would count. Thanks Liz . . . for keeping me honest!

  • OK, you caught me. I never thought anyone would count. Thanks Liz . . . for keeping me honest!

  • Kim Eisenberg

    Tim,
    Great article! Throughout my life I have taken pride in being an avid networker – not realizing the personalization I took to add to the meetings ultimately ended up being very meaningful. I realized this once I took my personal networking skills and added them to the business sector of my life. Reading your article made me say “Yes Yes Yes! This is it!” – I nodded my head every way through it. Very helpful and I couldn’t agree more. It makes all the difference to really be in the moment with people and notice that the give and take rule really ends up making the biggest difference ever. Good luck to all!
    Kim Eisenberg

  • Kim Eisenberg

    Tim,
    Great article! Throughout my life I have taken pride in being an avid networker – not realizing the personalization I took to add to the meetings ultimately ended up being very meaningful. I realized this once I took my personal networking skills and added them to the business sector of my life. Reading your article made me say “Yes Yes Yes! This is it!” – I nodded my head every way through it. Very helpful and I couldn’t agree more. It makes all the difference to really be in the moment with people and notice that the give and take rule really ends up making the biggest difference ever. Good luck to all!
    Kim Eisenberg

  • Kim – Thank you. I love your reaction! Being in the moment feels good because it is real and authentic. The more we experience that . . . the better.

  • Kim – Thank you. I love your reaction! Being in the moment feels good because it is real and authentic. The more we experience that . . . the better.

  • Deb Callahan

    I appreciate your writing about your experience as I was trying to educate my husband just this morning on why I spent the last 2 days driving around the Twin Cities – because at last Saturday’s networking meeting the speaker reiterated how 80% of the jobs are filled before they even (if then) hit a job posting board! He thought my going to retirement parties from where I spent 8 years competently employed was just for social enjoyment and I pointed out that networking is truly my job in today’s market! Your advice and numbered steps are helpful, as well as the reminder to be balanced in the give and take. I’ll be sure to thank the friend who forwarded this link, too!

  • Deb Callahan

    I appreciate your writing about your experience as I was trying to educate my husband just this morning on why I spent the last 2 days driving around the Twin Cities – because at last Saturday’s networking meeting the speaker reiterated how 80% of the jobs are filled before they even (if then) hit a job posting board! He thought my going to retirement parties from where I spent 8 years competently employed was just for social enjoyment and I pointed out that networking is truly my job in today’s market! Your advice and numbered steps are helpful, as well as the reminder to be balanced in the give and take. I’ll be sure to thank the friend who forwarded this link, too!

  • Hi Deb! Tell your husband (I said) you are right. This time, anyway! 🙂 Networking is truly your job in today’s market. As long as it is focused (choose the right events and crowd), balanced (as you said it should include selfless acts of giving) and productive (make sure you know and have tangible ways to communicate your job objectives) you should do as much of it as possible. Someone on the Spin Strategy Linkedin group just got a new job via a referral from a former co-worker. Retirement parties can be a good place to network . . . Good luck to you!

  • Hi Deb! Tell your husband (I said) you are right. This time, anyway! 🙂 Networking is truly your job in today’s market. As long as it is focused (choose the right events and crowd), balanced (as you said it should include selfless acts of giving) and productive (make sure you know and have tangible ways to communicate your job objectives) you should do as much of it as possible. Someone on the Spin Strategy Linkedin group just got a new job via a referral from a former co-worker. Retirement parties can be a good place to network . . . Good luck to you!

  • Donna Freher-Lyons

    Hi, Tim —
    Thank you so much for sharing this example of good networking, and specifically how to help out the other person. Very helpful!

  • Donna Freher-Lyons

    Hi, Tim —
    Thank you so much for sharing this example of good networking, and specifically how to help out the other person. Very helpful!

  • No problem, Donna. Glad to share!

  • No problem, Donna. Glad to share!

  • Maria Luz

    Thanks for the tips!
    Little by little, people are starting to network in South America… I will definitely bear your suggestions in mind in order to be a better recruiter!

  • Maria Luz

    Thanks for the tips!
    Little by little, people are starting to network in South America… I will definitely bear your suggestions in mind in order to be a better recruiter!

  • Thanks Maria! Appreciate your comments!

  • Thanks Maria! Appreciate your comments!

  • You are welcome, Donna! Glad this one helped you!

  • You are welcome, Donna! Glad this one helped you!

  • Thask Tim, You reinforece alot of waht I already knew about netwroking but made me think about worikng harder at it and focusing on more productive meetings, for both parties. Its like being told to eat your vegatables or make time for exercise. You know its ture, but it helps to heari ti over and over. Especially it the context for a real story, tha does not sound like a sale pitch, but coming from someone who truly cares about the job seaker.
    I read many things from a variety of job search professionals and I often feel “You just want my money!”.
    I don’t feel that when I read your blog.
    Thanks, Craig

  • Thask Tim, You reinforece alot of waht I already knew about netwroking but made me think about worikng harder at it and focusing on more productive meetings, for both parties. Its like being told to eat your vegatables or make time for exercise. You know its ture, but it helps to heari ti over and over. Especially it the context for a real story, tha does not sound like a sale pitch, but coming from someone who truly cares about the job seaker.
    I read many things from a variety of job search professionals and I often feel “You just want my money!”.
    I don’t feel that when I read your blog.
    Thanks, Craig

  • Hi Craig – I love what you said and I know a lot of job seekers feel that way. I have had a blast sharing my ideas for the past 11 months and the bonus is that I have an even stronger network as a result. There are a lot of other bloggers out there with a big heart. Some also are wanting to make a living at the same time. And I think that this is OK as long as they are offering lots of free content as well. There will come a day where everything I do won’t be free, but I will always have a soft spot for the job seeker – having been in their shoes before!
    Thanks for your comment – glad to have you as a reader!

  • Hi Craig – I love what you said and I know a lot of job seekers feel that way. I have had a blast sharing my ideas for the past 11 months and the bonus is that I have an even stronger network as a result. There are a lot of other bloggers out there with a big heart. Some also are wanting to make a living at the same time. And I think that this is OK as long as they are offering lots of free content as well. There will come a day where everything I do won’t be free, but I will always have a soft spot for the job seeker – having been in their shoes before!
    Thanks for your comment – glad to have you as a reader!

  • Tim,
    I think you are spot on. Networking is the key to the job search. It has always played a big part of my job search strategy.
    I wanted to share a free job search tool with you that may help some of your readers. I recently put together a website, http://www.emails4corporations.com that lists the email address patterns for over 200 of the F500 corporations thus far. This kind of information will be invaluable to job seekers as they attempt to initiate contact with company insiders (recruiters, hiring managers, potential informational interview contacts, etc).
    Of course, most job seekers already utilize social and business networking websites like Facebook or Linkedin to re-connect with their friends and former colleagues, similar to how Staci did in your example above.
    What if Staci wanted to reach out directly to a contact that she found who was working for her target company? Yes, she could try asking for an introduction via Linkedin, which forces her to give up control..and which may take forever..or she might pay for an upgraded Linkedin.com membership, which starts at $25/month or she might try using another pay-for-use website like Jigsaw.com to get the info she needs.
    I have a better solution. If you know the full name of the contact that you are trying to reach, and you know the company name where they work, Emails4Corporations.com can show how to reach them directly and for free.
    Anyway, just wanted to share this with you –

  • Tim,
    I think you are spot on. Networking is the key to the job search. It has always played a big part of my job search strategy.
    I wanted to share a free job search tool with you that may help some of your readers. I recently put together a website, http://www.emails4corporations.com that lists the email address patterns for over 200 of the F500 corporations thus far. This kind of information will be invaluable to job seekers as they attempt to initiate contact with company insiders (recruiters, hiring managers, potential informational interview contacts, etc).
    Of course, most job seekers already utilize social and business networking websites like Facebook or Linkedin to re-connect with their friends and former colleagues, similar to how Staci did in your example above.
    What if Staci wanted to reach out directly to a contact that she found who was working for her target company? Yes, she could try asking for an introduction via Linkedin, which forces her to give up control..and which may take forever..or she might pay for an upgraded Linkedin.com membership, which starts at $25/month or she might try using another pay-for-use website like Jigsaw.com to get the info she needs.
    I have a better solution. If you know the full name of the contact that you are trying to reach, and you know the company name where they work, Emails4Corporations.com can show how to reach them directly and for free.
    Anyway, just wanted to share this with you –

  • Thanks Logan – cool concept. Would love to get feedback from other readers and get their feedback!

  • Thanks Logan – cool concept. Would love to get feedback from other readers and get their feedback!

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  • Tim, this is excellent stuff. I only found this blog post today because you RTed it today. I know tons of job seekers who need to read this.

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  • Thanks Ed – You should join the e-mail feed! 🙂 Thanks for the re-tweet!

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