Monday, February 7, 2011

How To: Network (for Job Seekers)

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Right? WRONG. In a down economy, knowing the right people might get you through the door, but it won’t get you the job. Sure, having a solid network that can vouch for you is important, but at the end of the day the hiring manager is putting money down for you, not your network.

Here are a few networking tips that might help those of you in the job market or considering a career change:

Ask for advice. Many job seekers will ask for informational interviews. These can be helpful, but rarely develop into an offer. Instead, find the person who has your ideal job and ask them for career advice. Most people are always willing give advice, especially if there is no expectation of hiring.

Cast a wide net. Describe your skill set as broadly as possible in order to appeal to a range of organizations. Diversify your inquiries, but beware of overselling yourself.

Do your research. Find out what makes your ideal organization tick. Look at the website, know the leadership, and follow the money. These simple steps will help you develop a pitch that proves your value.

Convey your passion. We all need money, but nobody wants to hire someone who is interviewing so they can pay the bills. Show them how your drive and personality matches their mission and organizational vision. Mock interviews and practice questions can really go a long way in improving your polish.

Say thank you. People are busy and under-appreciated. When they take the time to talk to you, make sure they know how much you appreciate their time and consideration.

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