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1. Treat networking like a game – enjoy it.

Networking is a time-honored tradition that most people apply every day without knowing it. View it as making contacts, creating relationships, finding out about essentials, even as making friends. Networking is based on the premise that we’re all humans and need each other. This is as true in business as it is in other areas of your life. You may need to ask me for ideas or referrals about getting a job, but I’ll gladly reciprocate because I know that at some point, I may need to call on you for something. At that point, whether the help is for me or someone else, I’ll expect you to reciprocate. It’s that simple. You lob the ball over the net, and it comes back to you.

Networking for a job can be fun. Consider it today’s answer to the lost art of conversation and its cousin, letter writing. It’s all about communicating—making phone calls, conducting information interviews in person or writing letters—to learn if your contacts can refer you to anyone who might want to hire someone with your skills.

The first step is to know what you want to do. Before you pick up the phone to begin networking, take a moment to collect your thoughts. Ask yourself, what do I want? If it’s help, be specific. Do you need ideas, names or introductions? Make a list of the items that will help you stay focused during your conversation. Most people really want to help you, a new graduate, with your job search, but first, they must understand what you want. Then they can determine how best to help you.

2. Realize that you, too, have something to offer.

When you’re just starting out in a career, it’s easy to be intimidated by the concept of networking. After all, you’re a new graduate and your knowledge of business may be limited, and your contacts are likely to be already established professionally. What do you have to offer that they might value and why would they make time for you?

It’s simple. Most seasoned business people understand the concept of networking. They know that what goes around comes around. Everyone has had to start somewhere. We all remember the folks who took time to counsel, guide and direct us on our first forays into the business world. It’s a debt that’s never really repaid, unless it’s through helping someone else just starting a career.

3. Honor the networking code.

Another way to say this is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want to have your phone calls returned, return phone calls. If you want help with your career, you must be willing to help others.

To be a successful networker, you also must take contacts’ suggestions. If someone provides a lead—an idea or referral name—follow up on it, especially if the person has agreed to “pave the way” for you by making an introductory call. You aren’t obligated to accept a position from a referral, but you are expected to follow up. You’re also expected to report back to your original contact to say thanks. During that call, you can recount your progress and ask for additional leads.

4. Make networking a priority.

If you’re in the throes of a job search, your first priority should be networking. Create a list of people you know and ask them for ideas, referrals and contacts. Generate a buzz about your abilities and your job search, and before you know it, people will be calling you for networking ideas.

After you’ve accepted a job, it’s easy to heave a sigh of relief and assume your networking days are over—at least until your next job search. Think again. Every contact you make while working is a potential jewel in your networking crown.

5. Keep track of your contacts—and keep up with them.

That means if you landed the job of your dreams, let networking contacts know that your search has ended and where you’re working, and thank them for their assistance. Add their names to your business holiday card list. Call contacts occasionally to see how they’re doing with no agenda other than keeping in touch. Let them know what you’re up to and do a little self-promotion. This isn’t the time to complain or gossip. Maybe there’s something they need that you can help them with. Visualize yourself building a large bank of networking good will and making regular deposits.

6. Don’t wait until you’re desperate to network.

Networking is a lot like flossing your teeth. For it to do you any good, you have to do it regularly. Keep your network alive and well so that if and when there’s a change in the wind, you’re ready for it. It takes time to rev up your network’s engine if it’s been cold or idle for too long. You want to keep it humming so you can quickly shift into high gear. Today’s job market is volatile and employees are changing jobs often; one of them could be your boss. You may need your network sooner rather than later.

7. Look for opportunities others might miss.

Networking isn’t just about finding people who can help you locate a job. Sometimes the most valuable networking you can do is within your company. Perhaps your employer sponsors a charity ball. Other employees might consider this a real groaner, but it’s a great opportunity to meet senior managers and their spouses and to support a cause the company considers worthy. Or perhaps a senior executive from your firm is giving a luncheon speech to a local organization. Not only can you learn from this presentation, but you’ll be providing him or her with support and building a bond for the future. You’ll also be adding new contacts to your network.

8. Ask permission to use a name.

Suppose you visited a contact to conduct an information interview—a short, friendly question-and-answer session designed to help you learn more about a profession or company. Your contact gives you the names of several referrals. Before you leave, ask permission to use your contact’s name as the original source.He or she may want to contact the referrals first, which will make your calls proceed more smoothly. But the main reason for asking permission is courtesy. When you mention names, you’re capitalizing on your contact’s rank and reputation within the business world, so you want to make sure you have his or her knowledge and approval.

9. Never underestimate the power of a thank-you note.

If a busy executive takes time to meet you and assist with your job quest, acknowledge the help you receive with a handwritten note. This lets him or her know that you understand and appreciate the his or her effort and contribution. It also allows you to provide a short progress report and feedback about the referrals. Last but not least, it paves the way for future contact.

10. Remember that you’re never too successful to network.

Don’t think that executives or others in authority positions are uninterested or unreachable. Many senior executives are delighted to be contacted and want to share the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years. Because of their seniority, they may be isolated and appreciate the chance to impart wisdom or learn something new from a prospective graduate. And when you reach a pinnacle of your own career, remember to keep your network fresh and alive. It’s fun, plus you never know when it may come in handy.

Source:http://alumni.berkeley.edu/services/career-services/resources/articles/networking/tips-how-network-successfully

By telling someone your goal you hold yourself more accountable, and you are more likely to do what you said you would do. In addition to making your goal known, you actually make a commitment to another person (partner) that they will hold you accountable for deadlines, making progress on your goal and ultimately achieving your goal.

You have made the goal known and you have a commitment to follow-up with a partner. Accountability Partners make an agreement on the goals that each person will be held accountable for and establish a meeting arrangement. These meetings can be face to face or over the phone and they can occur weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This relationship is focused on accountability not assessment. In other words, you are not providing feedback on the quality or quantity of action taken.

Top three benefits of working with an accountability partner:

1.) Accountability and Responsibility
2.) Idea Sharing, Creativity and Brainstorming
3.) Motivational Support

Ideal Partner: someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you; they should be someone you admire that is the same gender and is currently employed.

Source: http://www.learningandperformance.net/Accountability+Partners+Apr08.pdf

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Role-of-an-Accountability-Partner-in-Goal-Achievement&id=3153525

You Are a STAR – Stories about Your Accomplishments

Situations you faced

Tasks to accomplish

Actions you took

Results you got

Tell STAR Stories

Describe situation faced and results you got

Example: Increased sales by 25% in face of increased competition

Target Opportunities

  • Occupation or Job Title
  • Industry
  • Location or Geography
  • Income
  • Platform
  • Culture

Companies that need all of the above and are looking for quality talent like YOU!!!

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

Whether you are networking, interviewing for a job or meeting new colleagues for the first time, here are some guidelines to keep in mind which will make a good first impression.

  • Be mindful of the other person’s time. Ask if this is a good time for them before proceeding into the discussion (or identify another time that would be better). When attending a scheduled meeting or interview, ask how much time the other person has, and stick to that.
  • If you were referred by a mutual friend or acquaintance to the person with whom you’re meeting, be sure to reference that person in positive terms. This helps to build a “personal bridge” and establish rapport.
  • Take notes throughout the discussion. A person who doesn’t take notes is simply not interested or engaged enough to be taken seriously.
  • Arrive to the meeting or interview on time and fully prepared. This shows that you respect the other person, and that you are a real professional. Learn everything you can in advance about the company, the opportunity, and the interviewer.
  • Be focused on the other person’s interests and needs, more than your own. Present yourself as a solutions provider, rather than a job seeker. Offer to be of service and show genuine interest in helping the interviewer with his or her business challenges.

Once you confirm the interviewer’s primary needs and problems, share some “Accomplishment Stories” that relate your past successes directly to the prospective employer’s situation. Making this “connection” will help you stand-out as the top candidate.

Here are some things NOT to do, when trying to make a positive first impression. Do not:

  • Take advantage of the other person’s generosity or time.
  • Arrive unprepared to talk intelligently about the employer and the company.
  • Dress inappropriately for the meeting or interview.
  • Focus only on your own needs (instead you should focus on the company’s problems and challenges).
  • Fail to make a connection between your past experiences and the prospective employer’s needs and challenges.
  • Forget to follow-up with a thank you note.
  • Forget to ask questions about the company and the open position.

These items are also some of the main qualities interviewers are looking for in a candidate. So if you follow these simple suggestions, you’ll receive better feedback and ultimately get more job offers.

Source: http://www.careerpotential.com/articles/one-chance-to-make-a-first-impression.html

How can you stand out and get selected?

A great way to do that is to take a lesson from Madison Avenue, the masters of marketing, and develop a “slogan” of your own. Employers don’t buy skills. They want to know how you can be an asset to their bottom line, which boils down to only two areas in which you can provide a benefit:

* How will you help an employer make money?
* How will you help an employer save money or time?

When you answer this question, you set yourself apart from most of your competitors. The best way to accomplish this is to develop your own “slogan.” Called a “Unique Selling Proposition,” this slogan is a short sentence that describes a major, unique benefit that you can offer your next employer. For example, if you’re a project manager you have a number of skills, such as software, hardware, and management expertise. Trouble is, most other project managers competing with you have the same skills. If you think further, though, you find your particular strength might be your ability to identify and solve problems early in your projects. So your USP goes something like this:

“Seasoned project manager who excels at identifying and solving problems”

Now add one more item, and that’s the benefit to the employer. Since employers buy “making money” or “saving money,” try to find a way to attach dollars to it. This process is called monetizing your benefit, and it’s what will separate you from every other project manager you compete with. It may take some research or calculations, but it’s well worth the effort. Try to arrive at a conservative figure for how much money you helped your employer make or save on a given project, sale, or time period. In this case, our project manager calculated that he helped save his employer more than $3 million in a three-year period while he completed more than $12 million in projects. His USP thus becomes:

“Seasoned project manager who excels at identifying and solving problems and has saved my employer more than million while completing in excess of million worth of projects during the past 3 years.”

By placing this one sentence front and center at the top of his resume, the job-seeker can make magic start to happen. No longer is this candidate a commodity. The employer can clearly see the benefit of having an employee who can bring his special talent to help save $3 million.

Source: http://www.talenpreneur.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59:career-branding-tutorial&catid=36:career

Your 30-Second Elevator Speech or ‘Pitch’ succinctly and memorably introduces you. It spotlights your uniqueness. It focuses on the benefits you provide. And it is delivered effortlessly.

Elevator speeches are intended to prepare you for very brief, chance encounters in an elevator. But elevator speeches are not just for elevators! You should use it whenever you want to introduce yourself to a new contact. That could be in the supermarket, waiting in line at an ATM or when you get your morning latte.

So, who better than you to describe with passion, precision and persuasiveness what you do? A great elevator speech makes a lasting first impression, showcases your professionalism and allows you to position yourself.

And if you want to network successfully, you need an elevator speech!

EXAMPLE OF 30-SECOND ELEVATOR SPEECH

Hi, my name is Bob Raikes. I am a career                       WHO YOU ARE

counselor and am in between jobs.                                  WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR

I have 27 years experience; I am a National Certified                WHAT MY SKILLS ARE

Career Counselor and provide career counseling to

career changers, unemployed persons, and

college major selection to high-school age persons.

I notice that you work in this building and

wonder if you are familiar with the human resource      TELL WHAT YOU WANT

manager or hiring authority in the firm.

I would like to get a resume to that person.

Are you aware of any job openings that                          ASK FOR HELP

would require my skills?

I appreciate you taking time to listen to me

and would appreciate any help you could                        THANK THEM FOR LISTENING

give me in my job search.

Source: http://christiancareercircle.com/30SecondElevatorSpeechExample.htm