Turning Opportunities In To Interviews… This topic represents what most people call ‘active job search, but, as you can learn, the HOW –TO is what creates your success in networking. It professes strategies and tactics that will generate more effective networking. In your ‘first wave’ of networking you had the opportunity to:
- Reconnect with people you already know or have cause to know…
- In a non-threatening environment, confirm your positioning and get valuable input to your assessment and objective setting…
- Broaden your networking base, and gaining confidence in the process–a neat by-product that will serve you well for the rest of your career…
- Identify attractive opportunities, and targeted organization!
Thursday, May 5th… Turning Opportunities into INTERVIEWS: Representing your ‘second wave’ of networking IN TO an organization
You’ll be the first to know when you’re ready for ‘wave 2’ of networking… which, simply put, is networking your way in to attractive opportunities. You will focus your activity and time management to the business of creating INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION with employees, customers, and vendors–the “stakeholders”– within and surrounding any targeted organization.
So what are those basics that will allow you to effectively network to identify appropriate opportunities, and then secure the requisite INTERVIEWS in order to “close the deal?”
- Practice your two minute drill every chance you get…. it’s the fundamental building material of your communication strategy–your verbal collaterals!
- Practice your exit and qualification statements… most all potential employers and networking contacts will want to know your current situation and why you are available.
- Practice answering both common and tough questions… including pre-offer negotiation tactics. The most asked question during career transition is, “Tell me about yourself.” Appropriate use of your two-minute drill and related verbal strategies, your “verbal collaterals,” is a key ingredient to personal salesmanship…
- A verbal resume… A tightly focused, upbeat telling of “your story” told in a high impact two minute format. With practice, can be easily personalized to your listener.
- An “elevator pitch”… A succinct summary of your qualifications for a specifically positioned function or opportunity. With practice, can become quite spontaneous.
- A qualification statement that can be used in introducing yourself
Let’s not forget a couple of additional ‘collaterals’ that will help you round out your ability to ‘get the word out’ and serve as evidence of your qualifications.
- Brag bytes… Wordcraft various collections of words, phrases and sentences to capture memorable moments or accomplishments–the best you have to offer. “…saved 80% cost-perhire…” Used in MSWord, ‘Quick Parts’ can be quite efficient when building high impact correspondence as well.
- Personal Portfolio… Your collection of certificates, examples of work, reference letters, etc that can bring life and interest (not to mention PROOF) to your story.
RESEARCHING TARGET Organizations and Attractive Positions
Step six in our 12-step Process, first level research will help you to identify attractive trends and targeted companies. But, in THIS context, I suggest digging a bit deeper in order to help secure an interview… Learn as much as possible about the company, the potential opportunity, and the hiring authority–the person who has the budget authority to hire you. This is usually your next boss, but could be even higher in the chain of command.
Your research goals ought to include developing information about the company’s products, people, organizational structure, successes (and failures), profits (and losses), capital spending, strategic plans, philosophy and labor climate. Showing your knowledge of some of this information can give you added credibility over other candidates networking to, and actually interviewing for the job.
- Research the company web site, looking for information relative to your function and level… a company’s financial and annual reports can provide clues to their stability and market share. Don’t forget directories, trade journals, the “business press,” and databases of articles and other news.
- As part of your ‘second wave of networking,’ ask a friendly recruiter, business acquaintance or stockbroker what they know about the company… and by extension, call people with whom you have networked and ask what they know about the company
- Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
- Call the company directly; request a sales brochure, annual report or other company information. Companies have to market themselves, too, you know!
Telephone and Networking Skills
On a scale of passive to assertive => to aggressive, let’s take a look at how we could communicate direct to contacts in and surrounding a targeted organization…
Email…safe, but too easy to be deleted before a relationship is established. Requires follow-up.
LETTER of introduction… also safe, but read more often. Paves the way for a first call to a referral… creates dialog. Requires phone follow-up.
Phone call…direct… often a cold call… requires risk. Establishes contact, interaction and, worst case, VISIBILITY.
There’s only two reasons to be on the phone during active job search…
- Reconnecting with valid contacts, seeking their advice and information, sharing your communication strategy, and seeking referral activity…
- Securing actual interviews
Cover NOTE and resume… Rather than mindlessly applying to countless jobs, playing the numbers game; develop your networking style to motivate a person to request your resume. When requested, resume gets read more often. Establishes relationship. Requires follow-through. Face2face office visit!