Networking is not going anywhere. In fact, it may be more important now than ever. According to this study on LinkedIn, 85% of jobs are filled via networking of some sort, a percentage that should cause anyone to think twice about their networking skills. To put it lightly, networking can be crucial when it comes to landing your dream job.
Having more connections is only going to help you when it’s time to find a new gig, whether that’s in one month or one year. It’s estimated that anywhere between 70-80% of jobs never get posted. Simply put, if you’re well connected, people should be coming to you. I remind my career coaching clients of this all the time. Continue to do the work and put yourself out there, and doors you didn’t even know existed will begin to open.
Networking can be extremely beneficial when done well. When done poorly? Let’s just say word can spread quickly, and people might start rejecting your coffee invites.
Follow these three simple tips to make your next networking meeting a smooth and memorable one.
1. Reach out to those similar to your level.
If you’re looking for a Brand Manager role, reach out to the Director or VP of Marketing, not necessarily the CEO of the entire company. While it may look good to know people at the top, it can work more in your favor (and be more realistic) if you talk to someone who may be your potential boss or a colleague that you’d be working with regularly. That way, they’ll keep you in mind when something comes up, and you’ll already have one foot in the door to that team or department.
2. Send a concise email.
Use this introduction as an avenue to schedule your meeting, not to start boasting or begging for a job. Keep it short, and never include your resume unless you’re actively applying for an open position. It’s best to cut to the chase and keep your note straight-forward. Extend the invitation and state your availability. You’re more likely to get a quick yes or no response this way when you don’t over-complicate things. Just think about how many emails this person probably gets in one day. What is going to make them want to reply to yours?
3. Talk about your “transition” versus your “job hunt”.
If you’re just meeting someone, remember that they are still getting to know you as well. You don’t want to come on too strong (somewhat similar to a first date). Don’t overemphasize your need or desire for a new job. Instead, speak about being in a transition or a period of growth. At the end of the day, you want to strive for a real connection. We’re all human, after all. Why not try and make it less of a traditional “networking conversation” and actually get to know the other person? Chances are, they will be grateful to spend their time discussing a few things other than work and the industry. Then, they may open up even more.
It’s important to continue networking even if you aren’t actively seeking anything new. Focus on building meaningful relationships and watch as people turn to you when a new position comes up…before it’s even posted, (if it ever gets posted at all).
Stay proactive, and don’t do yourself a disservice. Put yourself out there and watch as it starts to benefit you today, tomorrow or down the road.
This article was originally published in: www.forbes.com. By Ashely Stahl.