How to Network Like a Politician for Your Job Search

 

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Networking is such a pain for many of us. We get that uncomfortable squirmy feeling when asking for something from a stranger.

Millennials with fresh qualifications find networking a whole new world. It’s not as simple as friending someone on Facebook.

 

Here are some mindsets that you need for your job hunt and networking efforts.

 

Act and behave like a Pro

You need to drop that needy and fresh act fast. Yes, millennials bring innovation and energy to companies, among other things. But you still need to stick to the unspoken rules of behaviour.

 

Recalibrate your World View

Professionals act and behave in certain ways, knowing how companies and other professionals work. In a nutshell:

  • Companies have job roles because there are specific needs that the company can’t meet without a person with specific skills. If they could automate or outsource to cheaper alternatives, they would have.
  • Employers have requirements that they need to meet in filling roles.
  • Often, jobs aren’t all that clear. Employers are often hassled into delegating more work, pressured to cut costs and deal with working with less.

 

You, as a professional minded millennial should:

  • Realise the ins and outs of what companies require from a role.
  • Do the legwork and research to pinpoint the core needs a company and employer requires.
  • Behave and act as a professional would in your various job strategies.
  • One specific behaviour to take is ‘give and take’. If you are asking someone out of the blue, expect to give something of value in return.

 

Absorb and make this world view part of everything you do in your job hunt. It will begin to cut out the noise that you create, and make relevant your actions as a first-time job seeker.

And you need to behave professionally when you are seeking to connect with others. A rejection is means needs weren’t matching and is nothing personal.

 

Here is why networking needs to be part of your job hunt strategy.

  • According to CEO Lou Adler, a LinkedIn leader, 55% of most jobs are filled through the hidden job market.
  • Referrals through networks is built on mostly trust and credibility. Skilled professionals often flock together, and know many professionals in various fields.
  • Professionals that refer others have their own credibility on the line. So you can expect that professionals they bring are up to the task.
  • A big reason jobs are still advertised is because it’s often a legal requirement, which is the case in Australia.

 

Here are three key ways to bring these factors to play in your networking efforts or your job hunt.

 

Invites: To connect or not to connect?

LinkedIn invites are often a sore point for many young millennials. What the hell do I write? I don’t even know this person, how can I come across as not desperate and needy?

Don’t: Let your fears stop you from sending cold invites or emails. You will be surprised at the rare occasions some professional accept a meeting. But if you aren’t sending them, you’ll never get a reply.

 

Invites: Soliloquies vs. Short

Many millennials write different types of invites and emails to connect. Here are a few choice examples:

  • Long, borderline essays portraying everything about themselves
  • Stories about what they can offer.
  • Short requests to connect.

 

What is lacking in these responses is a professional attitude and approach.

Long responses are a waste of time. This tells the professional on the receiving end that you are new and kind of narcissistic. They value their time, which you obviously don’t in your overdrawn invite.

Stories about your numerous triumphs and qualifications is another way to get ignored. You aren’t considering your recipient.

 

Professional Invites: Hinge it to the reader

Here is what must happen in invites and cold emails.

    • Everything is about the reader. You are secondary and talk about yourself if you can provide benefit for that professional.
    • Here research needs to be done. They know nothing about you. If you know nothing about them, you can’t leverage anything when you are reaching from the unknown.
    • Tailor from your research what you gather their company or that professional needs. Match it with your skills and experiences and briefly mention how you might help.

 

Professional value their time, and appreciate others that value it as well. Be brief but concise and to the point. Tell them politely who you are, what skills and experiences you see as matching their needs or possible needs. They will be more willing to let you into their network if you considerate and respectful.

 

Pro tips:

      • If you can’t match the specific needs of the professional you want to connect with, refer someone from your network that is willing and can match their needs. Professionals refer others and establish credibility as a problem solver and referrer of needed skills. Doing so will set you up as a professionally minded individual.
      • Follow up emails and messages. Often, professionals may forget all about you. They are so caught up in their own busy lives that they need reminders. Or your polite and professional follow-up can lead to a referral or possible job offer. Being professional leaves lasting and good impressions, as not many put in the effort to follow up.

 

Networking Events: Have ammunition

Ever dread networking events? You feel like a pubescent teenager again, tripping over your feet and tongue.
You need to:

Gain ammunition. Research the companies and professionals that are coming to the event.

Again, see how you can focus on the needs of these professionals and companies. Aim to:

      • Find out the overall skills and requirements of the companies and professionals.
      • Prepare stories and examples that showcase your relevance to these needs.

 

Social Media is your Giant Invite

Personal branding and content marketing aside, having a professional bio is essential on LinkedIn and any other media platform you use in your job hunt efforts.

Below are the benefits of a professional bio.

      • Create concise descriptions of your qualifications and experiences. Make it relevant to specific industry needs, and to specific roles and companies is better.
      • Post it on your core media profiles you use for your job hunt: LinkedIn (main), and Twitter if you are commenting to gain interest on industry issues.
      • Make it uniform and in a format that is recognisable, and have a LinkedIn URL and contact details.
      • SEO it, or look up top search terms that are used in the job role you are seeking.

 

Social media can be used as something professionals can refer back to, after reading your invite if they are interested. Make it professional, remove inappropriate stuff from your media profiles, and update any mistakes away and to show you are active.

 

Final Thoughts

Networking and gaining connections doesn’t have to be a complicated and nerve-wracking experience. Act and rely on being professional. Follow up, know what they need, and match or refer their needs.

Acting professional will convey one core thing to professionals: this person is ready and capable to work in a corporate environment.

This is what shortens your job search and reels in dream job offers.

 

How do you network? What methods work best for you?

Please share your insight and networking experiences in the comments below.

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