Eleven Incredible Rules for Networking

If you’ve done any amount of research about how to search for new career position in the present day, you’ve probably come across the statistic that 80% of available positions are not posted online.  We talk about this statistic quite a bit at CDCG.  Frankly, I don’t even know what research has been done to verify that number.  I could find it on the internet, but I won’t because I already know the message behind that number to be true: most of the available job opportunities aren’t published.

There’s only one search function that is going to uncover these job opportunities, and it’s called networking.

You can’t see them online.  And if you can’t see them online in 2019, you can’t see them anywhere.  Sadly, many great candidates with oodles of skill and experience will never get a chance at reaching their professional potential for this very reason.  It’s assumed that everything is at our fingertips on the internet in this technology driven world.  So, every day thousands of unfortunate souls open their favorite browser to pursue what they believe is a great career search… in the shallow pool of what is 20% of the opportunities. 

The real market is unseen, living in the minds of people that know they’re available.  There’s only one search function that is going to uncover these job opportunities, and it’s called networking.  The good old-fashioned practice of speaking with people.  It’s phone calls and coffees, meetings and lunches, networking functions and job fairs that uncover the 80%.  It’s all about relationships, and that’s great news. 

With that said, allow me to invite you to shut down your computer and go begin your real career search.  The below “Eleven Incredible Rules for Networking” were recently presented at a Vets on TAP function by the CDCG team.  It’s not an exhaustive list, but enough to start you down the road of opening up the 80%.  Good luck!

  • Get out of your comfort zone.  Not everybody was born a social butterfly, but your future could depend on you overcoming some fears.  In order to expand your network, you must speak with new people.  If you need motivation, just think: “somebody in this room likely knows about an open position that would change my life.  I just need to find that person.”
  • Don’t network, make friends. Networking is often mistaken to be a forced conversation that’s purely about filling a need.  Sure, there’s a definite reason why you’re pursuing the conversation, but it doesn’t have to be purely transactional.  Be authentic, create real relationships and enjoy the process. 
  • Have something to say.  If you want to produce a result, say things that are aligned with that creating that result.  You need to have an elevator speech.  There’s a ton of theories on how to do this, just remember to keep it short and end with a good question.  That’ll provoke conversation once you’ve stopped speaking.
  • Be professional.  Yes, be authentic but remember you’re presenting yourself for a professional opportunity.  There are some topics and habits that are better left for personal time.  If you’re at a networking event with a bar, perhaps skip that second cocktail. 
  • Show interest. Remember, this is not purely transactional.  If you’re purely interested in achieving your own goals, the person you’re speaking with will feel it.  Nobody wants to work with that person.  Networking is not all about you. 
  • Host the conversation. If somebody has been kind enough to share some time helping you with your career search, respect that they’ve done so.  Stay on topic and be prepared. 
  • Be helpful.  Again, it’s not all about you.  Investing in and being helpful to others is a sure-fire way to get to the top of the list of people other want to help. 
  • Make notes.  I get it, you meet a lot of people and it’s tough to remember names and conversations.  That’s why it’s important to write things down.  Be the person that remembers the details.  People appreciate that.
  • Follow up.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease!  Be sure to quickly follow up on any deliverables and send a note to people you meet.  It demonstrates desire and makes a good impression. 
  • Always be networking.  You never know who that person is standing next to you in the grocery line or sitting next to you on the plane.  A simple conversation or kind gesture could open up a whole new world. 

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