How to network your way into a new job

Have a professional online profile

A professional profile is one that positions you as an expert in whatever it is that you are an expert in. The 2 main things that candidates get wrong here are:

1.  Copying their entire CV. This looks lazy and results in too much information and lots of task related information that isn’t at all relevant.

Remember ‘audience and purpose’ for anything that you write. In each medium, these two key factors change and so, the style of writing used must be adapted accordingly.

2.  Writing the profile ‘CV style’ whilst employed.

The usual ‘I am a hardworking, reliable …. adept at …. who always achieves targets …’ is not hugely appropriate if you are networking on behalf of your employer. It marks you out as someone who is aiming to leave their job.

In many cases, positioning yourself as a ‘passive’ candidate – excellent at what you do but available if the right opportunity came about is more effective. You can save the application stuff for when it is requested.

Have a relevant headline

The worst thing you can write in a LinkedIn headline is ‘Seeking a new role’ or something similar. This puts you in the same category as millions of others. Remember the way to get selected is to be different (in relevant ways) from the others. If I am a recruiter looking for a neuroscientist, am I going to click on your profile just because you said you are ‘seeking a new role’ just to see whether or not you are a neuroscientist?

Attend events that your target employers go to

This will be whatever best suits your industry. Often the trade bodies or professional associations run events.

When attending these however, remember that the employers are there for a reason. If it’s a job fair then it’s fair enough to pitch them what you do – they are there to attract candidates. If it’s another type of event however, they may be there to promote their business or learn about new developments in their industry – a direct pitch is less appropriate. You have to be a lot more subtle. Build a relationship, get in to a conversation by whatever means available, and the conversation will naturally progress onto what you do. Then you can gather the information you need: Do they have any relevant jobs and who should you contact about it?

Finally – don’t oversell. Know when to draw the conversation to a natural end. You have what you need to be able to take the next action, so focus on leaving a good impression and that is your job done.

Follow up effectively

Many a promising job application gets ruined by a candidate ‘spamming’ or hounding the recruiter for a response. Sometimes for reasons that are internal within the company, they cannot make a decision quickly. No amount of contact is going to change this.

An email every couple of weeks (or whenever they tell you is appropriate) is good. A polite phone call if you don’t get a reply. But no more than this.

If you are referred on to a colleague, then anything you can do to follow up directly; saving the introducer from any further work is great. Also remember – your conduct here will reflect on the person introducing you – so maintaining that good impression even in the face of delay or disappointment is vital for your long term success.

If you would like a free CV review or free LinkedIn profile review, these are available by emailing Graeme@GraemeJordan.co.uk or messaging me on LinkedIn

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Graeme Jordan

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CV Writer and Interview Coach. Blogging about ways to improve your CV writing and job searching experience.

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