Thursday, December 20, 2007

Networking Rules Part 2

As a follow up to yesterday's post, here are some additional recommendations for successful networking.

Give the other person a chance to speak. Ask questions.
When you network it is imperative that you do not do all the talking. If you have asked another person for advice, make sure they have the opportunity to offer it. Also, when you do all the talking, the other person might feel confused and unsure of what they are supposed to do with the information you have supplied. Here are some questions you can ask to keep your exchange balanced and establish rapport.

• How long have you been with this company/field?
• What do you like/dislike about your job?
• What type of training do you need for positions such as yours?
• What is the culture of this company and what are its guiding principles?

Ask for suggestions on how to expand your network.
One of the main goals of networking is to tap into the network of the people you are meeting with. Each person you meet knows 200 or more people. If you can gain introductions to some of them, you quickly increase your network and your chances of finding the right connection. Ask your contacts if they can recommend a professional organization or the names of some other people you should be talking to.

Create a vehicle for follow up.
If you want to establish rapport with another person, you need to create ways to keep the relationship going. Ask the person if you may keep them informed of your search progress. If you read an article that pertains to a discussion you had at a networking meeting, cut it out and send it to them with a brief note. Try to find at least two to three opportunities per year to reconnect with members of your network.

Find ways to reciprocate.
Building a network is about creating a genuine, caring relationship. Thank your contact for the information they have supplied and see if you can help them in some way. Maybe your contact is interested in living in an area that you are familiar with or has a child interested in attending the same school you just graduated from. Share your knowledge of the school and your experience there as a way to help the other person. Keep notes on what you learn about your contacts so that future correspondence can have a personalized touch like “How was Jane’s first year of school?”

Send a thank you letter.
Always thank your contacts in person and follow up with a letter. If your handwriting is legible, the personalized touch is always appreciated

Networking is an ongoing process. It requires persistence, attention, organization, and good will. Incorporate the art of networking into your job search campaign now and you will gain opportunities and build relationships that will last a lifetime.

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