Did you know that introverts can be great networkers? They just go about networking in a different mode than the extrovert, and since a lot of the advice you see on networking for your career seems to be geared toward those extroverts, the combination of introvert/networking has to be redefined.
Search Engine Journal usually is a site visited by marketers and webmasters, those interested in tech-savvy networking of the internet kind. But a recent article by Mindy Weinstein looks at 5 Networking Tips for the Tech-Savvy and Introverted, because even internet gurus have to do interpersonal networking for their career.
For a great job search and continuing career opportunities, you need to build and maintain a good network--but many people don't know how to do this well.
Here are 4 keys to give you have the kind of professional network that will serve you well in your job search and career:
1. Contact your current contacts.
When's the last time you gathered up a list of all the people you know and have met in your work life? I bet the number of people you know would surprise you. Now--how many of those would you feel comfortable contacting for a job lead? Probably not so many. The key to being able to tap this resource (your network) when you need it is to nourish it when you don't. Here's how:
If I were 22 again, I periodically wonder, how would my life be different because I know how to Network, Give & Dream?
Despite myself, the choices I made and life activities I got involved in, I did pretty good getting to where I am today.
There are three very specific insights I now have that I wish I would have known and better yet, fully understood as I walked off that stage. I’ll share them with you so that you may find them useful or discover your own insights that can be beneficial to you in your journey through life.
Insight # 1 - Build strong positive networks of people in your life
Queen Latifah said,”Look at people for an example, but then make sure to do things your way. Surround yourself with positive people.”
Colin Powell said, "Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”
Do you let your networks of people overlap? You should.
In most of our lives there are three unique networks of people.
Your Friends and Family is one such network. These are the people who are generally the closest to you. These people are the people who hopefully trust, respect and care for you the most.
Your CommunityConnections is the second network of people in your life. These are people in the schools, charities, civic groups and churches you attend or visit. Your neighbors can be members of this network as well.
Your Business Connections is the third unique and important network of people. This includes your fellow employees, business partners and customers. Your mechanic, plumber and hairstylist could be members of this network.
Individually these networks can help in your life, community, career and business. When you let these networks organically overlap, the benefits become far more rewarding.
You can only reap the benefits of networking if you put forth deliberate effort with focus.
Deliberate means "doing something consciously and intentionally.” Focus means to "pay particular attention to.”
Often when people head off to networking events they do so believing they are there to find a new business opportunity, leads, referrals or a job. Even though this could be their primary purpose in life, career, business or community, it’s not the primary purpose of networking.
Being focused on your primary purpose while networking is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. It could be there, but the likelihood of finding it is minuscule and it’s a waste of time.
Expanding your LinkedIn network is a great way to discover new business and/or career opportunities.
I am a true believer that our networks of people, including our LinkedIn network is one of the most important assets we have in life. My career and business have been significantly influenced by my diverse networks of people.
For these reasons I encourage you to work hard and deliberately to expand your LinkedIn network. However, I want you to do this work the right way.
It’s rather easy to connect with people who you know, who you have worked with or for. It’s real easy to connect with people you meet in real life, especially once you get their email address.
However, sometimes we’ll find another LinkedIn member that we don’t know who we want to connect with. We don’t know them, have not worked with them or for them and don’t know their email address, yet we still want to connect with them because of what they do or where they work.
Most people will use the LinkedIn Introduction function. LinkedIn permits up to 10 open Introductions at a time.
However, I prefer not to use this feature because it does not allow me to:
Determine the relationship between the two LinkedIn members
Control the introduction process
For this reason I prefer to use my own unique process to get introduced:
If you build your network properly, it can become one of your most valuable assets.
A car can be replaced, computers are just commodity items, cell phones get replaced every two years and even your house is replaceable, ask your insurance agent.
Your network is built one person and relationship at a time. You can’t borrow someone else’s network, you can’t pick up a new network at the local big box store, and I doubt Lloyds of London will insure your network.
A dying network cannot help you, nor the people in your network. A dying network is almost always terminal. Few people have been able to revive a dying network.
Therefore you need to do everything you can to make sure your network thrives so that it never dies.
Here are five activities that if executed properly will help your network to thrive.
You likely have two specific networks in your life. The first of these networks is your In Real Life (IRL) network. The second is your Virtual social networks, unless you are not using social media.
Growing these individual networks and allowing them to organically overlap, where relevant and possible, can amplify your successes in life, career and business.
Whether in real life or on social media, consistently expanding your network will provide significant value. However, you can't ask people who don’t know you to connect. This is unacceptable and often will fail. So how do we grow our connections beyond the people we know today.
It’s really quite easy. Here are three ideas that work well:
Social media is a must for you as a job seeker, and LinkedIn is King of social media for white-collar professionals. If you are in the job search, you need to see this short video and find out why LinkedIn is such a necessary resource for you. Click the video to watch.
How many times have you interviewed for jobs but didn't get it? Even though you were qualified, you were interested, and you had a great interview conversation? Probably at least a few....we all have. Or maybe you were offered the job but had to turn it down.
If you are in the job search right now, make a list of those companies and contact them again. Not to ask for a job--to ask for information.
In the video below, I will tell you about my own experience and how you can use this rich resource in your own job search. I'll even tell you what to say when you call. Click on the video to watch.
When you need to find a job, you shouldn't be picky about where that job lead comes from.
You might not think about your friends or family or your church family as a network, but they are. They know you well, they know how great you are. And because they probably don't work with you, they have contacts that you don't...outside of your normal work space. That can be a powerful resource.
Watch the video below and I'll tell you more about this.
I also have an entire blog article that will tell you more ways you can utilize this valuable resource. Read it here: Fastest Way to Find a Job Tip 23.
Click to expand question sets, then click individual questions to read the post.
It is so important to talk to your friends, family, and church family about your job search situation if for no other reason than they are your support system. The job search is too stressful to carry it on your shoulders alone.
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I’ve known job seekers to leave the house every day at the same 8am time just like they were still going to their job because they didn’t want to let their family know they’d been laid off. They didn’t want them to worry. And they then went off to try to look for a job and come home at 5 just like nothing's changed…even though it did, in a big way.
That’s a terrible way to handle this situation. That means that you, the person who’s looking for the job is bearing the weight of the job search all alone, and it’s crushing. It’s just too much.
So the first thing I want you to do when you find yourself out of a job is tell your friends and family and church if you have one. It’s good for you.
If you want a more practical reason than that, think of this: if it’s good for you, it will be good for your job search. If you have a happy, healthy attitude, it will show. You project what you’re feeling inside to potential employers. There have been studies that show that people with positive attitudes get jobs faster than those with negative attitudes.
And here’s an even more practical reason: your friends and family and church peeps know people, just like your “official” network does. For instance, I’m someone who knows a LOT of people. I have hooked so many people up with jobs in so many ways, completely outside of recruiting. You have no idea what connections your friends and family might have, and very often the most informal relationships can hook you up with a great job lead.
But friends and family could easily prove valuable even if they don’t have a lead or someone for you to talk to. For instance: I know someone who wanted a waitressing job at a restaurant and couldn’t get hired. She was their hostess, but they wouldn’t move her over to waitressing for a year, they said. So she talked to a friend of a friend, and that person started coaching her on how to move up faster. They told her to first memorize the menu. Then, on a slow day, find a waiter to follow around and see how they do their job. When someone doesn’t show up, offer to take their shift. Help the waiters clean up so they can see that you’re dying to do their work.
Not everything is as easy to transition into as a waitressing job…but: Every job has “insider” tricks and tools that would help you move into that job if you knew what they were. And someone in your network just might know what you need to know to do that.
Talking to your friends, family and church family is not as valuable as contacting hiring managers, but it can definitely help you into the job you want.
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