I want to talk about the history of targeted networking and how things have changed.
Let’s also talk about what to say and how you can use it during this next month of holiday parties.
What is networking? When did it start? How has it changed? And how is it useful for job search, but also how is it useful for just about anything else you’re interested in. we’ve been humans – Homo sapiens sapiens – for 53,000 years at least. The first 50 millennia of those, we were Hunter – gatherers with maybe 25 in our family/tribe/group. We would occasionally get together with other family groups but probably not more than about eight of them. You would know everyone in your family group; they were your inner circle and what we found is that today humans still do have 25 people that we see on a regular basis. Then there’s the outer circle of maybe 400 other people. When humans started filling our villages, 400 was about the average size of the village. You might walk across town to see and interact with them but they knew you weren’t as close as your close family.
Then we developed city and cities have far more than 400 people in them obviously. we find that humans still have about 400 people that they could have a beer with or have a cup of tea with. Those 400 are your current network. They’re not your career network; they are not your work network; they are not whatever you need a network for. If they had a job for you, you would have it already. the people that you need to connect with are beyond that circle of 400.
You can and must connect with those beyond your 400 people. They will need you for all kinds of things and you will need them. There are experts out there who can help you. You are an expert in some things who can help them. And besides that, it can be a lot of fun. Think of your grandmother’s bridge clubs. Your grandfather’s basketball pickup team.
So fast forward to 2016. We have LinkedIn and other social media where you can start looking for connections that are in your industry, in your career niche, in the companies that you have most interested in, and even in the department you want to work in. When you do reach out in LinkedIn, you need at least 400 to have it work well. That 400 number keeps coming up. You need to be friendly and open and willing to help others in order for networking to work.
The December holidays are chockablock with opportunities to network. I usually think that the dark days of winter are good days to snuggle up with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea in front of the fire in a good book, but a lot of people party and when you do that you to meet a lot of people who are not in your 400. You might go to your partner’s office party or you go sing with the choir that you don’t usually sing with or whatever it is. You’re breathing the air of strangers so how can you use that to increase your circle? Increase your chances of becoming known to people in the company?
First of all, you need to know what companies would work best for you. Then you can ask people (who are kind of on the outside of your circles or on the far edge of your 400) if they know anything about that company. It’s probably can be more useful to ask people you know were already in your industry, if not in your niche, if they know anyone who works at one of three companies.
You can overwhelm people. You can’t give them your whole list of 30 but you can ask 10 people if they know anybody at three companies.
In order to do that, you need to be willing to help them too. The first questions need to be all about them – How are you? How are you liking your job these days? What is it that you are working on? What’s going on in that industry? Know you have to offer a listening ear. It doesn’t have to be about – so why are you here at this particular event? How do you know the host? Of course, those are okay as well, but once you get past that, it’s okay to say – so what you do you do for a living and what you like about it?
For those people who don’t like the parties and tend, to stand in the corner the best thing to do is go look for the other people who were standing in other corners and start this conversation with them.
It’s important to know who you’re talking to, get to know them, let them get to know you so that, after the party is over, if they have been any help to you for you to them, all you need to do is follow up.
Follow-up can be a handwritten note. Handwritten notes are astonishing these days because no one does that. Even a postcard or a thank you note. A thank you email if they were even sort of vaguely helpful. Remember to get their business card if you can so that you can email. If you leave without any connection with them but they were very helpful to you, call your hostess and ask how you can connect with them.
The point is that you need to be always connecting. There’s a book called Never Eat Alone . And there’s the guy who wore a name tag everywhere they went for a couple years as well. But the point is that you need to be connecting with people in your industry so that you can help them and they can help you. You can find them in your neighborhood, in your holiday parties, at your kids’ holiday pageant, wherever, so please, please use the time wisely to help you expand your network and develop new connections. You’re here for a reason and even if you don’t much like people, you still can build your network, your career, and your enjoyment of your life.
Happy holidays and take care,
Email me [email protected] if I can be of any help to you. Check out biosciencejobkit.com for more information, help, strategies. What I want you Not to do is depend on job boards. And don’t depend on recruiters. We are not the Fairy Job Mothers and we don’t know all the jobs that are in the world. Networking is the premier way to get your next job, manage your career, and help your community.