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Holiday Networking

7 Tips to Networking for a Great Job Now

coffeeThis is a great time of year to look for a job. I was hired for all four of my corporate jobs in December for a January start.

I know that companies are hiring for Q1 – they have new budgets and projects. It is a slower time in the office and employees have more time to network. In addition, holiday parties are frequent and you can meet new people.

I would like to share 7 proven tips to getting your online presence ready, putting your best smile forward and getting that fabulous job for 2015:

1. BE MINDFUL – I have networked with over 78,333 people and I can quickly assess their intent. I have an assessment I call TUGS: I have found that people are usually in one of 4 areas: Takers, Users, Givers or Sharers. You know what I mean, don’t you? You have encountered each type, I’m sure.

Make sure that you are clear about your intention while you are networking. I make sure to set goals, such as who I want to meet, what advice I desire, and how I can help others. When I was in the employee engagement practice at Carlson, my team and I did work on the importance of emotional targets or “how do you want people to feel after they meet you?”

There are 4 emotional targets – after you meet someone, you want people to feel that you’re warm, authentic (genuine), empathetic and positive. My business partnerRisë Kasmirski helps people in job search become more mindful. She asks them ‘who are you?’ and ‘where do you want to go?’

TIP: Do a self-assessment, which type of a TUGS are you? Consider how you want people to think of you and feel about you after you meet with them, both in person and online.

2. BE CLEAR – before you begin to network, while in job search, be clear on what you desire: the job title that you want, why a company would hire you, and what your values are. My business partner and personal brand strategist, Kathleen Crandall,has 2 questions she asks our clients: 1) ‘what happens because of you?’ and 2)‘what 3 things do you aspire to be known for?’ These are foundational questions that you should be able to answer before you network especially with employees in the company that you are targeting, with recruiters or people that could refer you to hiring managers.

TIP: Reflect on Kathleen’s questions. Read The 20 Minute Networking Meeting byMarcia Ballinger, a highly regarded national recruiter who has created a step by step process for networking for success.

3. BE TRUSTWORTHY – say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you are going to do. This means to be sure to follow up in a timely manner – and with thank you notes. I have a strategy when someone invites me to connect on LinkedIn where I ask myself:

  • can they help me once?
  • will they help me twice?
  • will they help my network?

When I invite someone to LinkedIn I ask myself:

  • can I help them once?
  • will I help them twice?
  • can I help their network?

When connecting on LinkedIn, I coach my clients to always write a personalized LinkedIn invitation. If I receive an invitation without a personal message I always review their profile to see who we have in common, then I click Reply Don’t Acceptand I write them a message; “Hi X, Thanks for the invitation to connect. I see that we are both connected to X. What did you have in mind that I can support you with today?” I wait 3 weeks and if they don’t respond then I click Ignore. I assume that they won’t be as likely to help my connections if they don’t reply back to me.

TIP: Be someone people want to help twice – this is a small town (where ever you live). Always personalize your LinkedIn invitations.

4. BE FOUND – look good, update your LinkedIn and other online profiles. Make sure that you have a great photo, targeted headline, current job title and company information, a summary that tells a story about who you are and what you can do for others, in addition to what you desire. Use many key words, check job descriptions that you’re applying for and company websites.

I add a new key word to my LinkedIn profile every Sunday at 3:30 pm. My clients know that I call this process ‘changing my oil’. I get ‘under the hood’ of my LinkedIn profile check the Settings, add new keywords or publications, projects, interests and maybe a keyword to the Summary (Premium account holders see a new feature which shows you keywords that LinkedIn suggests you add). This keeps my profile fresh and coming up in searches. See the blog from William Arruda for additional summary tips.

TIP: Look good, research your keywords, and get a professional headshot. I recommend social media certificated photographer Jennifer Kelly,Jennnifer@kelicomm.com. (Below is example of a great headshot by Jennifer of John Goodrich, one of my ‘board of advisors’ and an amazing CEO and connector.)

5. BE CONNECTED – to the right kinds of people; you’re judged by the company you keep. When we build my clients’ connection strategy, I have my them think about their HUBS.

These are groups, associations, organizations, and meet-up groups – places that are common connection points where many of their influencers ‘hang out’. These include college or company employee alumni groups, industry associations, specialty groups, hobby clubs, or community volunteer organizations. I ask my clients to join, get known and volunteer in at least 5 hubs. These are the easiest places to begin networking because there is already a common connection point.

In addition, I ask my clients think about their TOP 11 people that have helped them in the past. Think about people that have helped you get that past job, introduced you to your spouse, helped you with your first house financing, etc. This could be former bosses, friends, colleagues, alumni, pastors, hair dressers, don’t forget accountants, lawyers, realtors as they are wonderful resources and connectors.

Then they make a list of the TOP 11 people that they have helped most. These are the people that we begin connecting with. This is a list of 22 people who have an average of 150 connections each – that’s 3,300 connections that can help.Statistics show that it’s the 2nd degree connection that will help you get that next job.

TIP: Ask 5 of your top people if they would be on your ‘board of advisors’. I have 5 and they are my ‘go to’ people to run by ideas, get advice and share new ideas. They are the people that refer 80% of all my business and I’m grateful to them. Join my Meaningful Connections group on LinkedIn and other appropriate groups where your HUBS and advisors are in.

6. BE CREDIBLE – what is the area of expertise that you want to be believed for? It’s important to stay top of mind, on LinkedIn, for your expertise. LinkedIn statistics show that your profile is 12X more likely to be clicked on if your photo shows up on the Home Page, Publishers area or in the Like, Comment or Share areas.

This is a part of the strategy that I teach my clients – how to create their meaningful marketing communications plan. We start by asking that question “what 3 things that they want to be known for or what 3 things would they blog about?”

Next we begin curating content, collecting and organizing information from Google Alerts, Newsle, blogs, experts, trade publications, Google+, Twitter, etc. Then we develop or create their point of view and begin to share it in the appropriate media. With the new Publishers pencil on LinkedIn this is much easier to do, however, only 1% of my clients do it, it is hard, I’ll be the first to admit. It took me 2 years to even post on LinkedIn.

TIP: Begin thinking about what 3 things that you desire to be known and believed for. Try the Publishers tool on LinkedIn (it’s the pencil in the Share an Update box next to your photo on the Home page).

7. BE KIND, HELPFUL and GRATEFUL – are you? As a ENFJ on the MBTI profile, I’m a giver profile. As a career coach, online brand strategist, LinkedIn trainer and consummate connector, I need a process to be available to help people. So I have created a variety of options to connect and network with people easily. Here are some of my meaningful connections practical ideas that I’ve started to ensure that I’m easy to connect with:

  • ‘Meaningful Connections Meet + Greet’ sessions – every M-F between 7:44-8:33 am central I am easy to reach via phone at 952.484.6854 to make a meaningful connection (no need schedule an appointment). This is usually a quick 10 minute touch base call to see how my ‘new friend’ and I can support each other.
  • Meaningful Connections LinkedIn Parties each Friday where I invite 5-7 clients and people who want to network to the local library, my office or the coffee shop where there is free internet. Everyone brings their computers and opens their LinkedIn network where I teach them how to do a Meaningful Connections Gold Mine Dive into our connections. We then make Introductions on the spot. Click here to read my blog for step by step details. Many of my clients have hosted their own LinkedIn Parties. Try it.
  • Introductions – I make 2 meaningful introductions from my LinkedIn network for each client that I meet with. The goal is to get 2 coffee meetings and then get 2 more, then 2 more. LinkedIn says that for every 300 views of a profile job seekers get a job offer. I translate these to 150 coffee meetings (since the face to face meetings speed up the process).
  • Group networking meetings, I attend 2x per month (I check out the MSP Business Journal and Star Tribune Business Sections for a listing of events and pick 2), I make it a habit to approach someone first with a genuine smile, a warm introduction (my first and last name, nametag on top right near my smile) a firm handshake and a sincere open ended question such as – “what brings you here today?” or “where are you coming from?” or “who do you hope to meet today?” or “what do you desire today?” – that one really throws them, as most people don’t know what they desire.
  • I start my day giving away HUGS, it’s my coffee time (see the blog) – every M-F between 7:00-7:15 am I’m on my LinkedIn. I have a set process where I provide 10 Endorsements, thank Endorsers, invite 4 new people to my network, Like, Comment, Share, reach back to people who have viewed my profile and post on the Home page and in Groups, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
  • Each morning, I read the MSP Business Journal app, my Google Alerts and the Star Tribune and send an article to someone that I think would benefit. In addition, I will make meaningful connections to people that I think would profit by knowing each other.

TIP: Be the first to approach someone at an upcoming networking event. If you’re in a group or at a table have an open heart, a warm smile and an outreached hand. Invite that lone person to your table. You know how it feels.

I thank you for sharing your smile and for making meaningful connections. What can I be on the look-out for you today?

Be well, my new friends,

Anne

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Anne Pryor is a Universal Connector, LinkedIn Trainer, Certified Online Brand Specialist, Future Mapper and Co-founder of Meaningful Connections, a national leader in personal branding, online visibility using LinkedIn, and career and new world of work strategies. Meaningful Connections is a collaborative partner of theCollaborative Leadership Center at Sugar Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids, MN. See her other blog posts at: www.MeaningfulConnections.com