Networking

One Simple Answer to Cure Networking Fatigue

As a jobseeker, networking is the number one way to land a job and for those who are gainfully employed, it is a great way to cultivate your network. How do you do it without burning out?

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The answer?

BOUNDARIES

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. James Townsend describe boundaries like property lines. Know where your backyard begins and ends. You are in control of what and who you let in your fenced backyard.

So when it comes to networking share your time and talent generously, but:

Know your limits. Whether we like it or not, we are finite beings with a finite amount of time each day. Know the limits of your calendar and energy.

Know your capacity. Everyone has a different capacity. Whether it is related to introversion or extraversion, your season of life or stress, know what lights you up and what drains you.

Know your priorities. Your schedule may allow a phone call or coffee date but ensure it matches up with your current personal and professional priorities. Just because your calendar allows doesn't mean a yes is necessary. If you can't touch-base or share insights over coffee, be clear in your no. If possible, refer the requestor to others who may be helpful or beneficial resources.

How do boundaries play a role in your networking?

One Question that will expand your Network

Try ONE simple question to expand your network:

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"Who else should I talk to?"

When you are sitting across the proverbial table with a new connection over the phone or with your favorite hot beverage at a coffee shop before you leave, ask this question!

In your brief chat, your new connection just learned about you - your goals, skills, how you want to grow, companies or positions of interest - so ask who else THEY know that you can learn from!

This way your network is ever-expanding with one simple question.

The Art of the Elevator Pitch: Know YOUR Story to Land your Next Job

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Today, the National Resume Writers Association Ask-The-Expert blog tackles how job seekers should share their story at in-person networking events. While an elevator pitch can feel sales-y and icky, the concept is simple - know your story. Flip the script on need in the job search. Share where you are going and invite others in on the journey. Here’s how:

➔ Introduce yourself. Take the courage to actually meet new people instead of hanging with the people you know. Instead of asking people what they do, ask how they spend their time or what project they are working on. Get to know the whole person, not just the professional part of their life.

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➔ Share what makes you unique. Your job search should have focus. You are targeting particular positions and specific companies. Share what makes you unique in your current field/role/company/etc. as it relates to your job search.

➔ Share you destination. Invite people along in your job search journey. We never arrive to new places alone. Share how you want to use your skills in a new place or position and ask about their landing place - how did they get to where they are today.

➔ Genuinely connect. People want to help people they like and trust. Be a genuine inquirer of their unique skills, journey and work.

Networking is about connecting. We all have a story. Know yours.

Accept or Ignore?: How to Discern When to Reject a LinkedIn Request

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Not all networking is good networking. Do you agree?

This is from Caroline Ceniza-Levine and her most recent Forbes article on when to reject a LinkedIn connection request.

I look for:

A freshness date. This is Ed Han's term that I love. Basically, are they engaged, active users on LinkedIn? When did they last comment or like something? Do they share original content?

Common connections. Do we run in similar circles on LinkedIn? Do we follow the same people?

Interesting people. If I am intrigued to know more about you and understand how I can learn from you, I am all in. A note with the connection request usually makes this determination easier.

Ceniza-Levine shares her tips >> What is your methodology?

Invite People into your Ambition

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Declare your ambition. You don't have to know all the details.

This is Bob Goff's advice in his new podcast, The Dream Big Podcast when chatting with Jason Russell. And I concur!

Being open about your ambition is like throwing a party 🎉. Let people know what you want to do - invite people in! Share your ambition like you are sending out invitations - you don't keep party invitations to yourself! Yes, it may be scary. People may laugh at your proverbial invitation or toss it aside, but maybe, just maybe, they may open the door wider, inviting more people in, connecting you to people that will benefit your new ambition. Friends may even enter the trenches of the behind-the-scenes work and planning, cheering you on!

So let people know. Parties are more fun WITH people and so are ambitions (whatever they may be!) There is power and community in vulnerability.

Now, what kind of party are you throwing?

Separate Work from Who are Are: An Introduction Change

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You don't have to be defined by your work. When you introduce yourself to someone new replace what you do with who you are.

Our identity tie to work is strong. I realized this when I decided to quit my job to stay home with my third child. It never occurred to me how I relied on my achievements at work to define who I am. I found there are no performance reviews for a stay-at-home parent.

Does who you are change because of work? Most definitely, but WHO you are is separate from what you DO.

So instead of: Hi! My name is Meg Applegate. I'm a resume writer.

Let's replace the formality with: Hi! I'm Meg. A woman of faith, driven by even the littlest of goals. I'm lit up by connections with people and prone to giggling at the cheesiest of jokes.

It's your turn. Who are you outside of what you do?

Need help discerning what makes you unique? Check out Meg’s DIY branded resume statement mini-workbook to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Ask the Experts: How Do I Get Noticed by Employers?

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It is a privilege to be a National Resume Writer Association’s Ask The Experts Contributor answering how to get noticed by employers when you aren’t getting callbacks from your online applications. Check out my answer along with other experts on their blog.

Psst! I’ll let you in on the secret: connect with people more than job boards.

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Design your Network with Three Types of People

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You are the boss of your own network. Design it thoughtfully.

Whether you realize it or not, you are already part of a variety of systems. You may just be so embedded in them that you can’t see them. Think about people in your circles at work, socially, geographically, family, community, schools, church, etc.

These are your natural networks! While some circles are chosen for you based on your workplace or where you send your kid to school, others you can take ownership. 

Intentionally ADD people that ADD value.

Typically, a valuable network has these three types of people in it:

Connectors. People who have large networks themselves and know a lot of different people. Their natural matchmaking capabilities see opportunities for people around them.

Champions. People who want to see you succeed; cheerleaders that will speak your message without external motivation.

Experts. Natural teachers who have particular expertise. Experts are imperative to your network because they can supply you with the information you need.

Build and nurture your network now by offering value to those around you. Not just when you need something.

Consider: Which type are you? Who is most valuable to you?

Join a collaborative community of professionals who are intentional about nurturing their personal and professional growth. Oh, and access to free/discount services sweetens the deal too! 😉 Join here.



Hungry for your dream job? Grab lunch!

Hungry for the job you want but just don't know how to get there?

I've been there.

My career path isn't straight. In fact, the twists of new interests and the turns of new seasons of life directed, and still do direct, my course.

Back in the day, I was miserable in event planning and I had my sights set on higher education, specifically academic and career advising. I knew NOTHING about the field besides the results that populated from my Google search terms. How did I proceed?

I crossed my fingers and emailed a COMPLETE STRANGER who was an academic advisor at a local university and asked her how she got there. I inquired about what I needed to do to get the job she had. I asked her to lunch.

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And you know what? She HELPED me…over said lunch! She even gave me feedback on my written statement for my graduate school application (per her advice to apply to grad school)…A STRANGER!!

Who do you need you to talk to? Let lunch lead the way.

Be a student of those that are in positions that pique your interest. Request new connections on LinkedIn. Meet new people over coffee. Learn from their story…and then start writing your own!

Need more tips to refine your job target? Download my free tip sheet here.