Published on December 6, 2008
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your Way to the Top Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top In this factsheet I’d like to offer some advice on how you can develop your long-term networking strategy to advance your career. These methods are equally effective, whether you are seeking to rise on the corporate ladder, or whether you are striking–out as an independent. I also offer some tactical tips on what you can do if you are actively jobhunting, again these methods work for independents and interim workers. Networking is a proactive process of building and maximising relationships to help you to advance your career. Your network becomes increasingly important as you get older, or apply for more senior positions. Some people believe that as few as 25 per cent of jobs are ever advertised and that about 50 percent of people over 40 find work through personal contacts. Some people network quite naturally, whilst for others, the very thought of it makes them feel so uncomfortable that it makes the hairs on the back of their neck stand up! Ironically many people, who are brilliant marketers for their product or service, draw a blank when it comes to self-marketing! Developing a Networking Strategy ‘Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn't sell much of anything’. David Ogilvy. The success rate for networking is no better and may be even worse! But when it does work it can bring powerful rewards. Just as the gardener reaps their rewards for working and fertilizing the soil, you will gain rewards from your networking activities. Look at the table below and decide which methods you’ll use to develop your own ‘brand identity’. Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top Ideas for places and opportunities for building your network NETWORKING NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES OPPORTUNITIES Mentor someone or ask someone to Attend conferences and seminars mentor you Call one person a day that you would Allow one evening a month for a drink after like to talk to, but isn’t on your priority work with a friend or colleague that you list don’t see enough of Get involved in task forces or other Give some of your time to charity exercises Send reports of your work to others Subscribe and contribute to online who may be interested networks Attend external networking or speed- Make time for meeting the occasional networking events supplier Talk to others about what they are Write papers, articles (or even a book!) for doing in areas which may be of interest external publishing Plan regular reviews to talk about your Present at external events such as performance and your development professional institute branch meetings or with your boss become a committee member Offer to present at meetings or Attend training courses internally and conferences and bring others in to talk externally at yours Do a regular report on you and your When you dig out useful information, think team’s exercises and send it to the about who else it might be interesting to, people who might want to know and forward it on Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top Networking works! I started working as an independent consultant in 1990 and I estimate more than 95% of my work has come through referrals and networking. Here are some personal examples of how networking has helped me: Internet forums & Networking Sites – Get your self on them, but be cautious about giving away too much about yourself. ! I won a £20k contract as a direct result of posting some information on one of the workshops that I run on a networking site. I had been participating in this forum for over three years and had obviously built a sufficiently sound ‘virtual’ reputation, because the client paid my 50% deposit before even meeting me! Speaking at conferences - I got a year's contract with a company as a result of speaking at a conference. In November I spoke at a conference. Later that year some friends invited me to a New Year’s Eve party. At the party they held an auction of donations to raise money for a childrens’ charity. I donated a day’s consultancy. Coincidentally the winning bidder had seen me speak at the conference. He later told me that having seen me speak at the conference, he had confidence in my ability to deliver. I delivered the day’s consultancy. So far I hadn’t earned a penny for my efforts. The client liked what they saw and asked me to work with them as a coach for the whole of the next year. Writing articles - Over a decade ago I wrote an article on Presentation Skills for a training journal. The week the article was published I was offered a national contract with a large government agency. In addition I would conservatively estimate that over the years the article has generated over £100k worth of business for me. Remember, the root word of ‘authority’ is author – if your name is in print, then people look to you as an expert on the subject! Speed networking – as easy as 1,2,3! Try it – search Google for local events. 1 Develop your own ‘sales pitch’. A memorable vignette that says who you are and what you do, that you can communicate in a couple of minutes. 2 Be prepared. Take lots of business cards with you and also a note pad, so that you can make lots of notes (Develop your own scoring system in advance). 3. Don’t be fooled by appearances. I attended an event some years ago and could see that some people were paying little heed to a young guy who arrived late, was unshaven and was so Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top casually dressed that it was verging on scruffy. They were ignoring the owner and managing director of one of the largest home building companies in the region! Building a network doesn’t happen in a day. All of the methods work, but you can’t do them all at once, so choose two or three and do it now! Networking tactics to find new work If you are looking for a new job right now, then you probably don’t have time for many of the long-term strategic methods. But networking can help and is far more powerful than scanning want ads and searching websites. But let’s clarify; networking is not about pestering people nor is it about embarrassing people so that they feel morally obliged to help you or even give you a job. Networking is about approaching people genuinely to ask for advice and ideas on how you can get your next job: You aren’t meeting them, telephoning or writing to them for a job. This is extremely important. When you make it quite clear that what you want from them is advice and ideas (not a job), will find them far more forthcoming. Just look at the power of numbers. Imagine you start off with the top 15 people in your network (see later), you contact these people and they each give you the names of two of their contacts. That’s an extra 30 people and you now have a network of 45 and so it can go on. it’s not difficult to have 40 or 50 (or more!) people helping you in your jobsearch. People like to have their ego stroked by being asked for advice and I believe that most people will help if they are asked. You’ll only embarrass them if it appears that you’re asking for a job. Anyway, enough of their embarrassment! Broadcasting that you’re on the dole (if you are) is a real ego booster for you isn’t it?! I think not. So how are you going to say it? Some people find it very difficult to tell others that they are looking for work, so if we can overcome this barrier quickly you will be able to start networking straight away. Write down why you are looking for work. Don’t be self-effacing and don’t be critical of your (previous) employer. Now say it four or five times out loud. The ‘bottom line’ is still the same, but you should now feel a lot more comfortable in explaining to other people why you’re looking for work and why you’re asking for their help and advice. Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top WHO SHOULD I CONTACT? Go through your address book, diary, business card file, customer records, correspondence files, etc. and brainstorm. Write down the names and contact details of people you know. At this point include anyone and everyone you can think of. For example: friends, competitors, customers club members, consultants, doctors, dentist, solicitor, bank manager, accountant, neighbours, professional contacts, suppliers, university/college/school colleagues, past employers & colleagues, relatives, teachers, work colleagues. Ask your partner and close friends for ideas. You have started networking! You can also develop ‘virtual’ contacts through internet chat rooms and forums. Now I have my network – what next? Identify and prioritise whom you should contact first: People who you can contact relatively easily. Aim high – the higher up the organisation the better. People who could potentially employ you are even better. People on the same level, but different function who can ‘pass you on’ to their peer. (People on the same level/same function may see you as a competitor) Now choose the top 15 names on your list and contact them. Decide which approach will be best. As a general principle: first choice is see them in person, second telephone, third is write a letter and the least favoured option is to send an E-mail. Remember, your objective is not simply to inform people of the fact that you’re looking for work, you want to motivate them to do something to help you. The more personal your contact, the more likely it is to succeed. Of course there are exceptions. If you’re working in the Netherlands and have a friend in Japan who may be able to help you to get a job in California then E-mail might work. But then again it might not! E-mail is excellent for maintaining business contacts and exchanging information, but as a starting point for network development it’s my least favourite option. Whatever you do, get to the point quickly, don’t waste their time. Achieve your three objectives: 1. To let them know you are looking for work – so that they can keep their eyes and ears open. 2. To ask them for the names of two of their contacts whom you might approach. 3. To ask for their advice about opportunities/recruitment consultants/ journals/ ads they might have seen. Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top Remember, you get one opportunity to make a first impression. The most powerful ‘in’ you can get is a personal introduction. Don’t over-stretch yourself by using the blunderbuss technique. If you try to contact everyone in your network on day one you won’t be able to handle the workload. Keep prioritising and manage the project, e.g. following up with a phone call if you’ve said you will. Whenever you have made contact with one of your network, send a short ‘thank-you’ note, or an E-mail. It costs little and shows your genuine appreciation. Networking is contrived, conscious and proactive – and proud of it! If all of this sounds contrived, conscious and proactive then you’re absolutely right. Shakespeare wrote his sonnets within a strict discipline, fourteen lines of iambic pentameter, rhyming in three quatrains and a couplet. Were his sonnets dull? Mozart wrote his sonatas within an equally rigid discipline - exposition, development, and recapitulation. Were they dull? David Ogilvy Any business professional worth their salt will embark on a marketing strategy that has been thoroughly analysed and will use communication strategies that produce the biggest bang for their buck! So don’t you owe it to yourself to use the same kind of strategic approach with the most important product in your life? You! Please see below for information about my books and other factsheets. Good luck Malcolm Hornby Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
Get That Job Career Development Fact Sheet 3 Network your way to the top A few words from the author My Books These tips are from my books for career planners and job hunters. I wrote the first book in ’93, since then thousands of people have used the tips to plan their lives and get new jobs There’s more good advice in my other slideshows and at my website, visit www.hornby.org A couple of words about copyright If I have used your material Much of the material that I use in my writing and my presentations is obtained from my research, surfing the Web. It is not my intention to rip anyone off and so if I have used your material without your permission, please let me know and I’ll sort it. Want to use my material? I’m flattered and am happy for you to use my slides and factsheets at work, at college or in your job hunt, etc provided it’s ‘not for profit’. If you want to use my material in a commercial situation please get in touch as I’m happy to write for websites journals, newspapers etc or to licence my material. Written by Malcolm Hornby Chartered FCIPD MCMI career coach and author of Get That Job, Published Pearson ISBN 0-273-70212-2 © Malcolm Hornby www.hornby.org
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