Learning How to Network
After a successful 19 year career in the entertainment space, I am now faced with finding my next opportunity. This is very foreign to me as I was hired when I graduated from University. Based on a lot of feedback, networking would be the key to finding my next job. Unfortunately, I attempted this before working with a career transition services provider.
I have learned three key items required to network successfully.
Its very important to listen to the person who you are meeting with and gain their insight on how they ended up at their current position. In some cases you might find out they did something during the interview process that made the difference that you could incorporate or how they successfully dealt with recruiters. Listen and take notes, it will pay off down the road when you come across the same scenario.
Throughout my career I had the opportunity to successfully sell many products and services but when I was asked during my first network coffee, tell me about yourself, I froze like a deer in headlights. I am a very humble person but quite frankly this was embarrassing, I couldn’t talk about myself and my accomplishments. Practice your ‘elevator pitch’ which should contain your different roles and accomplishments. Its important to keep this to a maximum of two minutes, you don’t want to lose your audience.
Help Them Help You
In another early network meeting, the first 10 minutes were fabulous. They provided insight on their journey and I listened and took notes. I followed with my elevator pitch and in my opinion the meeting was progressing well until they asked the following question; How can I help? Once again, I had the deer in the headlight look and stumbled through it. I found out quickly without a concise answer, I was wasting their time. Help them help you by providing them a career road map with the industries and companies you would like to land. I found it beneficial to send this prior to the meeting which gave them time to digest it and in most cases they were prepared to provide you various contacts and other companies you did not consider.
Networking is an art which is mastered over time and I hope sharing my early failures will help others to be prepared and have productive meetings.
“Your network is your net worth.” — Porter Gale
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